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Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, December 8, 2014

“Bee-havior”

I had four people signed up for the bird tour yesterday morning, so I was prepared bright and early.  With sunrise not until around 7:30 these days, it’s a bit of a challenge to take Emma for her first outs.  The coyotes have figured out that we’ve moved, and I’m not too comfortable wandering around in the dark with her.

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Everyone showed up for the tour, and my first stop was right in my own front yard.  I had set up my scope so everyone could get a good look at the waterfowl in the pond below my patio.  The two ladies on the left were from Canada, and some of you may recognize the two folks at the top.

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You know I had to take the obligatory shot of fellow RVers and Bloggers, Betty and Joe Graffis.  They had left their RV in Yuma way before the crack of dawn to get here for the tour.  They’re a delightful couple, and Joe is known as an Ace in the horseshoe pitching world.  It was an enthusiastic group I had for this tour. 

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Right on queue, the vermillion flycatcher made his appearance in the morning sunlight.  One of the Canadian women was an avid photographer, and was thrilled with her opportunities with the birds we saw.  So much so that she almost gave me a heart attack.

We mostly stay in the vehicle as it acts as a mobile bird blind, and doesn’t disturb the birds very much.  Not disturbing the birds is paramount in the view of the refuge manager.  He has only allowed these tours for the first time this year since he was assured that birders generally aren’t interested in causing problems.

So what did that lady do?  Well, she snuck out of the back door without mentioning it.  As I began to move forward in the vehicle, the back door slammed, and all I could think of was that I was about to run over a visitor that had fallen out the door. Disappointed smile  You can bet that I’ll give a little talk about staying in the vehicle unless I tell them to get out next week.  I also cautioned her not to get out of the vehicle without permission.

Then, as we made a scheduled stop to view a beaver slide, she took off down the road on foot with her camera.  The result was that all the waterfowl that folks were looking at took off… certainly disturbed.  Grrr!  It’s not often that I get such a self centered person on my tours.  Lesson learned for me.

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As we made our way back toward the VC, there was a flock of about 50 Canada geese in one of the fields.  I picked out one snow goose amongst them.  Snow geese are rather uncommon here on this refuge, so that was a good sighting.

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After a full day working at the VC, this male phainopepla showed up while Emma and I were sitting out in the late afternoon.  Some people call them black cardinals.

Today was another day working the VC.  It was fairly boring until about 1:00 this afternoon.  That’s when an exterminator showed up.  Remember when I showed you all those bees in my hummingbird feeder a week or so ago?  Well, we’ve had an invasion of bees in the VC, so the exterminator was called.  You can’t have visitors getting stung at a federal facility.  You can just imagine possible lawsuits and such.

The bees seemed to be coming in through the air vents in the bathrooms.  I don’t know how they got there, but the plan was to spray under the roof some how.  The result was that we had to close down the VC and lock the gate so no visitors could get into the area. 

With the VC shut down, I left to go home.  I don’t run fast anymore, and we were warned that the bees would be very angry.  I was out of there early!  So sad…Winking smile  I later found out that some visitors snuck in while the FedEx man came in.  Some other volunteers that hadn’t quite left yet had to run for their lives to warn the visitors as hundreds of bees swarmed around.  Can’t say as I’m sorry I missed that ‘bee-havior”.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

20 comments:

  1. I don't understand what it is with people sneaking in and out on a refuge. The absolute nerve of some people astonishes me.

    I am so glad you posted a photo of Betty. She often comments on my blog, and now having a face to go with the name will make it so much more personal.

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  2. I didn't mean to imply that those people were sneaky. The gate was open so they came in. We had closed the gate so people wouldn't get stung.

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  3. I just can't believe the lady on your tour! It almost seems comical to read about, but I'm sure at the time it was very frustrating! So glad you got to meet Betty and Joe!

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  4. You are going to have to lay down safety rules on your tour! Hope she is the worst you have for the duration. That Black Bird is very interesting...he does have a Cardinal look about him:)

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  5. I would love to get an up close and personal look at that phainopepla for myself. . .never, ever even saw a pic of one. . .how fascinating!

    Glad you escaped from the VC and the bee swarm. . .

    Saw a show last week on NatGeo about a dog in Alaska being attacked by a coyote pack. . .you are wise to be alert. . .stay safe!

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  6. When I read your blog tonight, Joe and I got the giggles all over again. I felt so bad for you but she was out of there so fast I couldn't even holler. She was quite the character. We told two ladies sitting behind us tonight at the 62nd Army Band Christmas concert about your tour and they are all ready planning on making reservations to take the tour.

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  7. Trying to remember Phainopepla just seems like a tongue twister, which makes it difficult to recall the name. Once you said that some folks call these birds "Black Cardinals", I could relate since I know what the male (red) and female (greenish-brown) Cardinals look like. He does have a look of a Cardinal. Thanks! :)

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  8. The selfishness of people always amazes me. That attitude that "the rules don't apply to me". Too bad you didn't use the scare tactic of " if we don't behave this experiment will be cancelled". It is a National Wildlife REFUGE after all. Glad I wasn't there for the bees. I react very badly to being stung. What kind of bees? Hope they were not honey bees.

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  9. My goodness. You would think that lady learned her lesson the first time. I hope she at least gave a feeble attempt to apologize for her behavior.
    Love the bird photos. The so-called black cardinal is cool.

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  10. You just cannot make some people's bee havior up...and you cannot fix stupid. We even have heard Coyotes here on Santa Rosa beach...They seem to be just about everywhere! Birding here is different...not many perching birds but lots of water fowl..and sea birds. I say that and then I saw 3 Great Blue Herons...perching in a palm.

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  11. This sounds like one of those times a whole class of school kids would been an easier group to deal with. Kids mind better than adults ;-) Love that silky flycatcher photo.. been a while since I've seen one.

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  12. I'm sorry that you had a misbehaving "tourist" on your birding tour. Would you be willing to put the child safety latch on the vehicle back door? You would be able to open the door at the end of the tour to let the people out, but they would not be able to exit the vehicle until then!
    The bird photos are very good and so enjoyable. I'm glad that you have a camera and know how to use it!

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  13. Those darn Canadians! That one is ruining our reputation of being a relatively polite group.

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  14. One in every crowd. I bet the thought that maybe you should have run her over crossed your mind. Don't deny it, I know you... :cP

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  15. What is with people who think the rules are not meant for them? I just cannot figure them out.

    So pleased that you met Joe and Betty. We are looking forward to the day when we meet them.

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  16. Sounds like someone needs to get that lady a good zoom lens for Christmas so she can shoot from farther away. I'll be good and obey all the rules when I get to take a tour with you some day...probably.

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  17. Wondering if those bees were honey bees. In NJ it is illegal to spray them. Have to call a bee keeper who will relocate them. Once in our 160 year old house we had some in the wall. We would have to remove the cedar clapboard, cut through the layers of plaster and pay a beekeeper. What did we do? I'm saying nothing!

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