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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A trip to a sister refuge

Imperial NWR is part of a complex of three refuges that also include Kofa NWR and Cibola NWR.  We get visitors in the VC from all over, and I felt I needed to know more about the other refuges within driving distance.  So, yesterday Emma and I headed out to visit Cibola.

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Even though it’s only about 25 miles north of the VC at Imperial, as the crow flies, I’m not a crow and the drive to get there is just short of 120 miles from my rig one way.  I had to drive up through Quartzite on US 95 to catch I-10 west to Blythe, CA, and then head south on the other side of the Colorado River to reach Cibola NWR. 

My first stop was the VC, of course, to introduce myself as a fellow volunteer and find out where to go and what to see.  Both of the volunteers there suggested the wildlife drive, but cautioned me numerous times that I was not allowed to get out of my car while on the drive.  All righty then.  I’m not much of a rule breaker, but apparently I appeared so. Who me?

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I also asked if I could drive through the volunteer village to take a look at the accommodations.  I was given permission to do that.  I always like to consider other volunteer opportunities, and seeing the RV sites is high on my list.  Shade covers were provided at all six sites.  Sounds nice, but I noted two problems with that for me.  First off, my DISH is mounted on top of my rig, so that wouldn’t work under the canopy as far as I know.  Secondly, there was only about ten feet between your rig and your neighbor’s rig on each side.  A little tight for my preferences.

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Then I was off on the wildlife drive.  There’s a large pond area with hundreds of Canada geese and snow geese near the beginning of the drive.  Some other waterfowl were mixed in as well.

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                                               Northern pintails were walking and floating about…

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Along with northern shovelers.  Cibola is touted as having the most waterfowl of the three refuges in the complex, but as far as what the general public can see, there’s not much more than what can be seen at Imperial in my opinion.

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The rest of the wildlife drive is around the managed crop fields on the refuge.  Along the irrigation canals, are more than a dozen of these unusual structures.  They are maintained for the use of burrowing owls.  Burrowing owls have their homes underground, and come up to hunt and loaf.  These man-made structures have what looks like sewer hoses leading to underground burrows.  The cross-like structures are for the owls to perch on.  My hopes of seeing one at high noon were not high.  You’ll have to take my word for it that a burrowing owl was sitting outside, but as I approached it ran down the pipe.  Sad smile

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                       Luckily, as I was nearing the end of the drive one owl was out soaking up some rays!

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These owls are pretty much nocturnal, and hunt small rodents.  I considered myself lucky that one was out taking a sun bath.  I didn’t intrude upon his slumber time for too long, and I definitely didn’t get out of the car. Winking smile

I’m glad I made this trip to Cibola.  Having been there, I feel better about what I can tell folks that visit here and ask about it.  In a little over a week, I’ll be heading out to familiarize myself with Kofa NWR.  Can’t do that this coming week, as I’ll be busy having fun with some folks many of you may know.  I’m trying to build a little suspense here… Open-mouthed smile

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                                                   Time to get some shut eye for now… THE END!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

28 comments:

  1. Awh a cliff hanger. Looking forward to seeing who your visitors will be

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  2. Apparently they have had problems with visitors getting out of their vehicles....oh yes you musta looked like a ruler breaker! NOT! Looks like a hot place to me and close quarters ...you wouldn't like it there and neither would Emma:)

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  3. Nice owl shots from inside the car. I doubt your Sat antenna would work under any kind of cover.

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  4. Loved your ending pic! You do an awesome job of being in the right place at the right time.

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  5. I think it's a great idea to visit the nearby refuges, and I think the owls looks so soft and cuddly. (I know they aren't cuddly, but they look like they are.)

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  6. I wonder how many volunteers don't think about their satellite dish before they get there? That would be a deal breaker for us as well.

    That was a long drive but nice to check out the area. There are a lot of burrowing owls here in Florida a little south of us. We went there during the day and found quite a few of them sitting outside too. Cute little things, aren't they?
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  7. Fabulous pintail, shoveler and burrowing owl pictures. I think it's neat that the shovelers are there where you are and here where we are too. I would just love to see a burrowing owl in person. They were at Kissimmee Prairie in Florida but we never saw them. Since I'm south of Karen and Al, I'll have to ask Karen where they found the owls. I'm with you on the closeness of those RVs under cover. I wouldn't want to live that way either.

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  8. Love the owl, I"d never have seen one without you! Can't wait to see what you're up to next.

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  9. We spent one night under one of those canopy-like things and it was terribly claustrophobic. I can't imagine living there with everyone so close. It's been a while since we've been to Kofa, but I think you'll like it there better... especially the walk up to see the palms (yes... you may get out and walk). It's good that you have the opportunity to see the area.

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  10. Awesome owl photos. Hope you can make the Blogger Fest at the Q on Sat., Jan. 24. Loved to meet you!

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  11. Great photo's- glad you could get it without breaking the rules!

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  12. I agree with you about the shelters over the RV's...though they keep the sun off, they block the signals on the roof. However, some refuges have installed a satellite dish that the volunteers can hook up to. The 10 foot distance is a deterrent also! Now the burrowing owls are a definite attraction. Which will be the stronger element!?

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  13. oh wow. . .the owl pic is just great!

    Looks like an entertaining way to spend a day. . .and now you know what you wanted to know!

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  14. Love the beautiful duck picture. I feel like am right there with you when I read your post.

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  15. Two very good friends of ours, Deanna and Joe Veilleux, are volunteering at Kofa. They love it there, going back each year. Say hi from us if you go there! What a beautiful duck, that pintail, and that owl is just the cutest!

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  16. Did ya' get out of your car??? Even a tiny little bit? We were surprised to encounter this rule on a wildlife drive in Colorado. Many places allow only foot and bike traffic (no vehicles) while others like these allow only vehicles. I wonder how solid the science is on those requirements...

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  17. I'm glad you are the shining example of a rule follower. I know it's hard but somebody has to do it! :cP

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  18. So much fun to see the owls. They DO look cuddly...especially baby ones. I can't wait to see what you decide to do for next year. Will Imperial bring you back or will there be something else in your future. All I know is that Oregon will be lucky to have you at the beach, and maybe I can learn some more birds when you are there.

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  19. Judy, great captures of the owl!!!! Cool beans, lady!!! :-)

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  20. I just LOVE the predatory birds..and Owls are at the top of my "
    Grasshopper"
    I just love predatory birds, and have a special fondness for Owls...That one was just adorable!..Judy, you look about as much like a "rule breaker" as I do...which is why they reiterated the "don't get out of the car" rule..tehee.



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  21. It was your lucky day...what a great to see a burrowing owl. I have never seen any kind of owl in the wild. There is a burrowing owl habitat in the park in Yuma. I waited and watched very patiently for a long time, but it was not my lucky day! Awesome photos Judy!

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  22. Why are people not allowed out of their vehicles? Sounds strange to me.

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  23. Congratulations Judith, you are this year's first winner of Blogger of the Month at www.journeylinks.blogspot.com ! Are you heading to Quartzsite? If so, I wish you'd e-mail me at keyward9@gmail.com and maybe we can connect! Best Regards, Key Ward aka The Ramblin RiverCat...

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  24. We have some photos of burrowing owls we need to blog about.

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