Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Touring the refuge

Blue skies greeted me when I got up this morning, so Emma and I headed out after a hearty breakfast to reacquaint ourselves with our summer home.


The green highlight tracks our route today.  We didn’t cover all of the roads, but we made a good dent in them.  We only drove on roads that are open to the public.  You can see that there are a lot of lakes on the refuge.


Since I’ll be giving refuge tours in a couple of weeks, I wanted to check out the best places to take folks.  This is the overlook of Pine Lake that is a stop on the Blackbird Auto Tour Route.  Spring is just arriving here, so there’s not much green going on yet.  There’s another pair of trumpeter swans.


I was a little surprised to see turtles out sunning themselves.  I figured they’d still be buried in the mud, or whatever they do during the Minnesota winter. 


Last year, the refuge intern Rachel, and I called this the dead eagle tree.  Not that it had a dead eagle on it, but that it was a dead tree that almost always had an eagle perched on it.  I was happy to find an eagle on it today, and it sure had a good sized fish in its talons. 


One of the wetlands along route 26.  I just enjoy looking at the clear blue waters up north compared to the silt filled brown waters of the south. 


Had to stop the car to allow a ruffed grouse cross the road on the trail to Lost Lake.  Lost Lake is one of my favorite places on the refuge.  I can shore fish there, and that’s where I’ll be looking for morel mushrooms again in a week or so.  I’m really determined to find my first morels ever this year.


Along this trail, I also found some of the first wildflower blooms of the season.  They were on a sunny hillside.  I don’t know what they are.  I haven’t gotten my Minnesota Wildflower Guide from Janice yet.  Maybe Far Side of Fifty knows what they are?


On the final leg of my drive back to the rig, a lone trumpeter swan was fairly close to the refuge service road.

IMG_6910 IMG_6906

I slowly made my way closer to it to get these shots.  I’ve been told that the rusty color on its head is due to the high iron content of the waters in this area.  Perhaps he was standing guard as his mate was setting on a nest full of eggs hidden near by?

More rain is forecast for the next several days, so I’m glad I took this opportunity to get out and about in the glorious sunshine.  This afternoon I was also finally able to run the Roomba in the rig.  Haven’t had much chance to do that since I left Texas.  Emma needs to be outside when I run it so she doesn’t attack it, and the weather hasn’t been very cooperative for that to happen lately.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Hi Judy:
    Even the photos of the not so greened up areas are beautiful. It looks like all of nature is coming alive after the Minnesota winter. I hope this summer is good to you - with lots of adventures and discoveries.
    I'm sure there must be a way to help Emma get over her need to attack the Roomba. Hmmm, I'll think on it!

  2. Beautiful pictures as always. Ruffled grouse. Now that is neat. The picture of the wildflower is so crisp and clear. Glad you were able to get out before the rains come.

  3. When I was at the library today I picked up a copy of the 17th Annual Festival of Birds. Now I used to think this was a Tamarac
    Wildlife Refuge activity but I don't see you guys mentioned.as sponsors. How much do you folks have to do with this?


  4. Minnesota - the Land of Lakes. So many things to see at the refuge, I'll have to head up that way sometime.

  5. Anemone americana I think Here is a link

  6. Those turtles are as anxious for summer weather just like you are. Of course, they don't have to wear steel toed boots...

    That dead eagle tree is really something. Great picture of the eagle with his lunch. I wonder why he wasn't eating the fish, was he just showing off what a great fisherman he is? :cD

  7. Great outing and such a variety of finds. The trumpeter swan is very handsome!

    I do love the wild flowers too....a great sign for you that spring is about to burst open!

  8. Thanks for the tour and great pics as always. Happy Mother's Day to you Judy.

  9. Hepatica photographs so pretty, doesn't it? Starting to make my way backward through your last 3 weeks of posts. :)

  10. You are doing a great job of making us want to be there to see things with you!

  11. We have been hearing Ruffed Grouse drumming here in Idaho, but we've only seen one, at that one was flying across a road. Nice picture!

  12. We have good friends we met in Texas and they are hosting at Lake Bronson in Minnesota. They are full-timers and originally from Buffalo, MN...Looks like Spring comes late up there. We just had our first Hummers here last week...Glad to see they came back!

  13. beautiful trumpeter swans. . .how majestic. . .and that eagle pic. . .wow!

  14. Hey, I had a great time reading your website. Do you have an email address that I can contact you on? Thank you and hope to hear from you soon.


    JHouston791 gmail.com

  15. Ever since getting out here on the Oregon Coast I've been missing our Midwestern Turtles... sigh...

  16. Great photos as usual, enjoy your summer.

  17. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog