You know, sometimes when you’re retired you lose track of the days. Tonight I was trying to remember what I did yesterday. It was my last day off before working three days in the VC, and it seems I didn’t do much of anything.
I did sit out on the patio to enjoy the play of sunlight and cloud shadows on the mountains beyond the pond.
Emma continued her bee patrol. I guess I have to say that she didn’t learn her lesson about bees the other day. She’s still chasing them. Bees must be taking the place of squirrels and chipmunks for her. Not too many of those species in the desert.
And I watched an osprey soar above the pond looking for dinner. It didn’t have much luck. A simple pleasures kind of day.
I was up before sunrise today getting things ready for my bird tour. I had three people signed up to attend. As I made my way to open the gate around 7:30, a woman waved me down near the VC. She wanted to know if the bird tour was still on. I asked her how she got in. Turns out she went under the gate and walked in while leaving her husband and their car at the gate.
The couple was from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They’re spending the winter in Phoenix and came here to get out of the city for a couple of days. They weren’t die hard birders, but enjoyed seeing things, and she was especially interested in trees and plants. Definitely not my specialty. Luckily, the other person on the tour was Chris, who works here. He is a biologist, with expertise on trees and such. Phew! I was happy about that.
I must say that I’ve never run into a woman with so many questions on one of my tours. They were good questions, but many of them were about trees and plants that I couldn’t answer. Even Chris struggled with some of them.
After last week’s experience, I cautioned everyone not to exit the vehicle unless I suggested it. As we stopped for the beaver slide viewing and got out of the car, the gentleman said he needed to find a bush. He said he was not trying to break any rules, but nature was urgently calling. All righty then. I told the others to keep their eyes on the slide while he dashed back to relieve himself. Good thing we were out in the middle of nowhere. I had also made sure everyone had a potty break before we headed out on this excursion. As Paul Dahl would say, “Semper Gumby”
It was a fairly busy day at the VC when I got back. The couple from Alberta decide to take the guided hike in the afternoon of the Painted Desert Trail with fellow volunteer Gail. I gave Gail a heads up about the wife’s interest in plants, and everything went well on the hike. It seems she had run out of questions by that time.
The picnic area outside the VC was chock full of visitors when it came time for my lunch, so I headed off a little way down the road to the Meer’s Point picnic area. I was the only one there, and this was my view as I had my latest version of broccoli and bacon salad. This time I added water chestnuts to the mix of broccoli, bacon, raisins, onions, and cranberries. Very tasty with some added crunch of Triscuit crackers.
As for the new personal challenge, I’m trying to get the best photo shot I can of a black-tailed gnatcatcher. These little dudes are about as challenging as hummingbirds and belted kingfishers. They never sit still. They skulk around in the low areas of shrubs and mesquite trees in the desert. This pic is not quite as sharp as I’d like it. They buzz around outside my patio area, so I think this challenge will help keep me busy in my off time.
Not an outstanding pic of an Anna’s hummingbird, but do you see those little black smudges in the background? They look like gnats to me, and the Anna’s and the black-tailed love snacking on them. I’ll keep you posted on my quest…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy