Set up my station at 8:30 this morning for my first five hour shift as wildlife interpreter. All the other volunteers at this Oregon state park refer to me as the Bird Lady. Where have I heard that before? I’m the only volunteer working for the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. Anyway, it takes some time to haul everything down to my site by the handicapped picnic table. Should have gotten some pictures of my set up, but I didn’t. Too excited I guess. Maybe tomorrow.
Remember this picture from yesterday when I showed you where I’ll be set up? Well, several readers have expressed interest in all the photos I’ll have of sea birds and whales. I just want to tell you that all the birds are around that rather distant island, and the whales don’t exactly come close to where I’m stationed. All of these rocks and islands are part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge and are protected. That means no one can be on these islands or even closer than 500’ of their shoreline. Not much chance of getting close-ups of their inhabitants. My, and visitor’s, views of the puffins, other seabirds, and sea mammals are through a spotting scope. I’ll try to show you what I can through my 300mm telephoto lens. Here’s an example:
Believe it or not, I spotted a grey whale on my first day! I was talking to a visitor about Bird Island when I caught a glimpse of a spout out of the corner of my eye. The whale surfaced about a half mile out several times over a ten minute time span. Not an impressive photo, but what a thrill to watch! A park ranger thought it was a female with her calf traveling with her in about 60’ of water. I didn’t see the calf, but it almost looks like a small spout to me in the middle of the large whale’s back. She’s on her way to Alaskan waters, and travels near to shore with her calf to try to avoid the Orcas (killer whales, that would like to dine on her offspring).
From my perch, I can also enjoy all the folks that come to the beach. Some come to contemplate, some come to surf, and some just come to have fun in the sand and water. I watched two young boys construct a nice teeter-totter out of driftwood this morning. Whatever the reason, isn’t it better than sitting in front of a computer screen or playing video games? I’m thinking I’d like to document in photos how so many people find different ways to enjoy this place.
People weren’t my only visitors today. These ground squirrels seem to be quite abundant running hither and yon among the rocks along the shore. Despite signs asking people not to feed them or any other wildlife, they seem to have become quite good at begging for food.
I even had a black-capped chickadee or two flutter through. Lots to look at and take note of on my duty stints. Sure beats sitting inside of a VC!
Here’s another example of my far away view of Bird Island. Those are harbor seals on the sand at the base of the island. Some females come here to have their pups. They’re all just basking in the sun.
I’d also like to answer a couple of other questions that folks had about my time here. Mike and Terry asked if the volunteer’s RV sites were separated from the general public. Nope, my site is right in the middle of the state park campground. That’s quite different from my normal assignments with National Wildlife Refuges. And as expected, it’s turning out to be a lot noisier than what I’ve been accustomed to.
Donna Cave asked if there wasn’t something I could do about my lack of DISH reception. I’ve investigated two things. Tomorrow or Monday, I’ll be finding out if I can move to a different site where I think I could have access to the satellites. With this being such a popular state park, I’m not sure how that will go over. Secondly, I called the DISH closest support company, but talked to a rather rude man about them bringing me a portable DISH that I think would work at my present site. I won’t go into all the details of that conversation, but it may be an option.
I’ll be back at my station tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to it, and the other minor problems will get worked out somehow.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy