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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, May 16, 2015

First day ‘on the job’

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.

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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:

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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).

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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.

IMG_0393People 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. 

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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!

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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.

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                                                                               THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

30 comments:

  1. So happy to see you in Oregon. We lived near Portland for over 30 years and still love the state. Enjoy your stay!!

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  2. Well, at least YOU will see lots of birds and whales and SEALS, too! You can tell us about them. That Black-capped Chickadee is a new one for me. I haven't seen him yet. Very pretty. I hope the things that aren't working for you get smoothed out. I don't know why you wouldn't be able to move to another spot. Having the volunteers right in the middle of all the other campers doesn't seem a good idea to me. I'd much rather be off to the side. It's not like you can move if you get a neighbor who is a pain. Oh, well, you'll figure it out. Glad you are there, and settled. :)

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  3. What an awesome first day Judy! I am so happy to read the excitement in your post!

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  4. Even though it is far off I love the picture of the whale. Hoping you get moved to a different site. Looking forward to all your pictures.

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  5. Looks like this is going to be right up your alley.

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  6. Well, I personally am going to enjoy your new assignment, you are always so positive and happy in your assignments, it is very encouraging. There were people at Cape Mears last year doing the very same thing, huge spotting cameras or scopes pointed at the cliffs and you could look and see the birds in their nests, right on the cliffs, so very cool!!

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  7. I haven't spent much time in Oregon, but would love to one day. I'm looking forward to all your adventures in this beautiful place. Bird Lady, imagine that!

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  8. I'm already enjoying your stay. Of course the pictures are outstanding as always

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  9. I don't think you will miss working in a visitor's center and hopefully you won't have to clean up after any messy people!

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  10. We volunteered for Oregon State Parks before being with the NWR system... found them to be very accommodating and easy to work for/with. Hope your campsite works for you. Sure looks like you're going to have a great summer.

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  11. This is all so exciting! We went on a whale watching boat trip out into the Atlantic in October when we were in Maine. Didn't see anything...so it's fun to see what you're seeing. Such a beautiful spot. We definitely have Oregon on our list of places to visit but sadly I don't think we'll get there this summer. Someday I am going to catch up with you and get a bird talk!

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  12. You certainly got some terrific photos from your first day on the job. This may be your best assignment yet!

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  13. That must be a lucky sign to see a Gray Whale on your first day!! Great pic, I know it's very hard to get!

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  14. Looks like a perfect place for you to hang out for awhile...enjoy!

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  15. I wish Oregon was on our travel list this summer, but it is not. Glad your getting settled in. Looking forward to your stories.

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  16. Looks like you're going to have a "Whale-of-a-good-time" on this new assignment! You have chosen wisely. :cD

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  17. One of our favorite camping places for sure. I love how Oregon takes such good care of their parks. We were camped right next to the trail that leads to the road which made things kind of noisy, but the park hosts were close and they were very friendly.

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  18. Looks like a great first day. I love your positive attitude that things will get worked out. Seems a great assignment for you OUTDOORS!

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  19. Sounds like an interesting job. But wi-fi problems and having to be in the middle of the public would definitely be negatives for me. Back to cleaning fish, - heard there were 6 but really there abut 30.

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  20. I think you will THRIVE in this environment...and for sure, it beats being inside all day...What a great excitement it must have been to spot a whale right off the bat!! A forecast of things to come?

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  21. Just two days on the job and you sound like you are in love with the area.

    We love the rugged shoreline of the Pacific Northwest. Can't wait to see some of your bird photos.

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  22. Wow, wouldn't that be cool if you saw one of the same mama and baby gray whale pairs that I saw in February back in Baja?!! I sure hope you can get down there one day to experience seeing them up close and getting to touch them. In the meantime, looks like you've got quite a difficult job there there this summer....what, oh what, to focus on! Wonder if you can try some digiscoping this summer too with a small P&S camera, smartphone, or even your iPad? Looking forward to more posts!

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  23. Looks like it's shaping up to be another great summer. Can't wait!

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  24. How are the temperatures? We are headed for a low of 30 degrees tonight. I hope it doesn't snow!
    Sounds like you like your assignment already...good for you! :)

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  25. How's the temperature at your "work site?" If you can stay out of the wind, that would be a good thing. Looks like an exciting adventure for you!

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  26. You are gonna have SO MUCH FUN!!!! That area looks so much like the area around Newport where I spent 2 weeks last May and I actually saw quite a few whales heading North so I think you will as well!!!

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  27. Even people watching can be fun.

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  28. Outdoors. . .always the better option. . .yaaaa!

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  29. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

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