.

.
Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A few stories from the overlook

Recently a couple of RV volunteer bloggers have written about their duties and a typical day 'on the job'.  I enjoy reading those accounts to see what others are doing.  So, tonight I'll give you an idea of what I do, and a few stories about encounters with visitors to my station.

Every Thursday through Sunday, I'm posted at an overlook to Bird/Goat Island.  I have to haul down all my equipment from the parking lot above, and set things up.  That includes this banner, scope, tripod, books, pictures, first aid kit, cameras, a stool, and a step stool for kids shorter than I am.
I arrive at 8:30 in the morning, and stay until 1:00 in the afternoon.  During this time, my main duty is to introduce the visitors to the breeding seabirds on the island, and the sea mammals that can be seen from the overlook.  Most folks are most interested in the whales and seals.  As you can see, so far I've encountered fog and overcast skies, so I really bundle up in layers for my stint at the overlook.  It's also my duty to pleasantly inform visitors that all of these rocks and islands out in the water are part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and are therefore protected areas. They are not allowed to swim or kayak out to them or climb on them.

I've done a lot of volunteering in visitors centers and talking to the public, but never anything quite like this.  I'm finding the wide variety of people I meet most interesting.  Although I've only been here a little over two weeks, I've met quite an assortment of characters.  Probably the funniest was a lady that wanted me to show her the penguins!  Sorry Ma'am, we don't have penguins here, but perhaps you'd like to see some common murres.  They sort of look like penguins.

About every other day that I work, a small white bus arrives and disgorges four gentlemen, and two caretakers.  I believe they're from a half-way house or assisted living facility.  One man is in a wheelchair and comes to practice slowly learning to walk up and down the ramps.  Another makes a beeline over to me.  I always have the scope set on the harbor seals for him.  He always says hello, and then asks to look through the scope.  I've learned that he wants to see the seals most.  Afterwards he will tell me facts that he knows. Yesterday it was the six largest living things in the world.  Then he asks if I've seen any whales.  They are the second largest living things on the planet don't you know, after the Redwood Trees.

The other day, a gentleman came down from his picnic lunch with his wife and friends and told me he wanted to see six new bird species today.  He keeps a yearly list of birds seen, and needed six new ones to make it an even 400 species for the year so far.  I'm at your service sir.  How about a Brandt's cormorant, a pelagic cormorant, a pigeon guillemot, a pacific loon, a common murre,  and a black oyster catcher?  He left happy as a clam!

And then there was the retired lady that travels around on a motorcycle and carries a tent.  She was about to have a picnic lunch at the table just above my station.  She got out all her food, and then turned around to ask me if I'd seen any whales today.
That was a mistake for her.  Lurking nearby was a crow...
...and a western gull.  In the three seconds that she took her eyes off of her food to ask the question, these two bandits swooped in and made off with her entire sandwich and a chunk of cheese!  All she had left was an unpeeled hard boiled egg.  She was fit to be tied, but looked at me, and we both burst out laughing.  Moral to the story?  Don't take your eyes off of your lunch, or only bring hard boiled eggs!

There have been other interesting encounters, but that's enough for tonight.  What a place this is going to be for experiences this summer.

Thanks for stopping by... talk to you later,  Judy

32 comments:

  1. The good part of the story was, it wasn't your lunch!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know you are so much happier being outside than in the visitor's center. Just wish you had a little more sunshine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I see that you are not my not warm there either. Worked on beach today and still cold. Guess you have not seen any puffins? We had a few but have not seen them in a week.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like you are enjoying your new volunteer position...people should keep it interesting for you. Watch your lunch! Cool hear today barely 60 degrees and supposed to freeze tonight:(

    ReplyDelete
  5. Found yourself a nice summer job once it warms up some. I can send you some heat if you like we hit 100 already today.
    Food stealing birds haha

    ReplyDelete
  6. This reminds me so much of when I worked in a public library. Met all sorts of interesting and colorful people at that job!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am so glad you are enjoying this stint Judy! Keep those stories coming!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Boy, are you ever in the right place!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's always so interesting to hear what other volunteers do... and this place sounds especially interesting. What a wonderful variety of birds! (but darn! I want to see the penguins)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have quite a lot of equipment to haul down to the viewing spot. Think of it as a free gym workout. :c)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It would be nice if you had one of those folding wire shopping baskets on wheels to help haul some of the supplies. Those birds were so funny - and smart !

    ReplyDelete
  12. Although some folks can be trying at times, I am sure that you will find them interesting and you will enjoy your new duties.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the stories - please keep them coming. If anyone can introduce people to bird species, it is you. The crow and the gull are still laughing about the free lunch.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Too funny! You seem right at home Judy. I am so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great post. Love the stories.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sure looks and sounds like a fun job at a great spot. You're going to get some great weather days and you've already gotten wonderful stories. LOL at the clever crow and gull. Bet they are permanent residents at the picnic table.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting, for sure! Lots of good stories, keep writing them on the blog, you're going to have a fab book some day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. What fun to see all that and interact with all those different people.... the lady with the food, I could tell where that story was going, uh-oh!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. That story about your visitor losing her lunch to the crow and gull is hilarious. I can just imagine that they've perfected their food-stealing technique over time! It sounds like a fun job and a lovely place to spend the summer.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This sounds a little like the adult version of "kids say the darnest things" :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. HAHAHA...Love all the stories. I'll bet the gentleman that comes everyday just loves seeing you. He probably spends some time thinking how he must stump you the next day.

    ReplyDelete
  22. ha ha. . .I can see I'm gonna have fun catching up with your adventures!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yep, it sounds like you are meeting some interesting people.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ha -- those low-down robbers! Never, ever turn your back on your food. I swear gulls and ravens can hear a chip bag opening a mile away!

    Man, your "work" assignment sure beats sitting in an office or VC somewhere, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  25. That sounds like something I would love to do..except I don't have the knowledge you do..not even a smidgeon...Just meeting new and different people everyday would be an adventure!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sounds like you're enjoying your new volunteer assignment,

    ReplyDelete
  27. Outside and birds, is that the perfect assignment or what?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Crikey ..... sure sounds like an interesting job you've got there, aye?? Mum would love those blokes from the halfway house. My 2 legged sister worked as a carer in one of those places once. She loved it and the blokes. Once a week she would take them to the local pub where they each had a shandy. They loved it and her. She would always try and find something interesting for them to do. She once took them go cart racing. Crikey ..... that was a fun day. You love birds, aye, Judy?? So does my Mum. I think she would like you. It sure sounds as if you are enjoying your work.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hilarious. Wish I could up my life list to 400 . I'm pushing 200 now...:)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

    ReplyDelete