.

.
Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Will I be finding a new bird ‘heaven’?

When Sue and Mo and I first talked about my coming to their house for a visit when they were here at Harris Beach in June, we thought we’d take a day trip to Crater Lake NP.  In the meantime, I made arrangements to do a volunteer gig at Tule Lake NWR beginning August 17.  The refuge is only about 60 miles south of their place, so I asked if we could ditch Crater Lake in favor of me making a visit to the refuge to see what I was getting into.  I had visited Crater Lake on my way north this spring, and I’ve had one really bad experience arriving at an unknown, to me, refuge in the past.  That taught me to be a little more wary, and try to check things out ahead of my arrival if possible. 

_MG_2329

They were fine with that request, so yesterday Sue, Emma, and I headed south on a little investigation.  Sue was familiar with the refuge and told me we would have gorgeous views of Mount Shasta along the way.  Well, thanks to the fires in California and Oregon, this was the kind of weather we encountered… smoke filled skies.  Sad smile  I think Mount Shasta is somewhere in the distance.

IMG_0628

Due to the draught and other politically controlled issues, there was very little if any water along the route that bordered the Lower Klamath NWR.  Sue was shocked at the lack of water.  We did find one small area of wetlands, and an abundance of white pelicans and great egrets taking advantage of it.

IMG_0633

Sorry to say, most took flight as we stopped.  In the past, what you see was not dry land, but lush wetlands.

IMG_0657

Happily, a nice group of American avocets were not bothered by our presence and continued to work the water for lunch.  There were also a few black-necked stilts and mallard ducks.

IMG_0678

The avocets just march along swishing their beaks under the water picking up tasty morsels.  It was at this point that I started to get excited about the possibilities of volunteering here.

I had made arrangements to meet the volunteer coordinator at the headquarters for the Klamath Basin Refuges Complex, and get a look at where I’ll be staying.  Sue and Emma stayed in the parking lot of the VC as I met with some of the staff and was walked over to see the RV site.  Well, the site is not the most picturesque I’ve ever seen, but it does have 50 amps, and is within walking distance of the VC.  I decided I’d give it a go.

IMG_0697

Then we headed out on the auto tour route so I could get a feel for the refuge.  I couldn’t believe the number of damsel flies that were everywhere along the route.  With the blooming thistle and whatever this plant is, the path was packed with them as well as butterflies and other insects.  We even had two young fawns jump out in front and behind us.

IMG_0727

Then there were the birds.  The ponds and wetlands were teeming with them.  I believe this is a gadwall mom and chicks.  There were four kinds of grebes, an assortment of ducks, phalaropes, terns, and even a golden eagle along the drive.  The smoke filled skies and it being high noon didn’t lend itself for ideal picture taking, but I was thrilled with the abundance of wildlife.

IMG_0741

It really was a birding paradise, and the fall migration has barely started.  I think I’m going to enjoy the next two months.

IMG_0750

My favorite moment of the trip was watching a pair of eared grebes feed their two young ones.  What a day trip it turned out to be, and we only did a portion of the roads available for viewing.

When we returned to Rocky Point, Sue prepared scrumptious tacos that we consumed out at their picnic table.  There’s nothing as tasty as when someone else does the cooking, and does it so well.  My palate has been spoiled the last few days, and I truly appreciate it.

Two things really stand out in my mind about this visit with good friends besides the fun and camaraderie.  First is the beauty and quiet peacefulness of their home.  It really came home to me how battered by noise these last three months have been for me.  What with the sounds of hundreds of campers, US 101 right behind my site, and a lumber mill operating 24/7 a half a mile away, I’ve been accosted with too much noise, and this three days was a most welcome respite.

The second thing I’ll never forget is how to operate a compost toilet.  Sue mentioned to me on my arrival that the cabin had a compost toilet, and that it was easy to operate and that Mo had left the instruction booklet atop it.  Okay.  Well, it might be easy to operate if one knew what the heck a compost toilet was.  I did not.  After a little while, I took a tinkle and then couldn’t figure out what to do.  How does one ‘flush’ a compost toilet?  All I saw was a cavernous black hole.  (Never thought to turn on the light, since light was coming in the window.)  I tried reading the instruction booklet, but after five pages, I kind of gave up since I couldn’t figure out how to actually use it.  I was also kind of surprised that it was so tall.  When I sat down, my feet dangled in the air.  There was no pedal like an RV toilet.  What to do???

Eventually, I asked Mo, and she said there was a lever under the seat in front that you pull out and it turns into a crank.  You just crank it around and it tumbles the ‘debris’.  Oh yes, if you do more than tinkle, you add a cup of what looks like cedar chips to me and crank away.  Amazing.  No odor to speak of.  You don’t use any water.  The tub that spins around when you crank kind of reminded me of a bingo game where they spin the numbers around.  You know what I mean?  I just don’t think I’d stick my hand in there to pull anything out though.  Smile with tongue out  Wonders never cease.

IMG_0710

                                                                             THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

27 comments:

  1. Love your description of the compost toilet. What more can i say! They are wonderful people, with a beautiful place. I know what you mean about noise. I try to block it out, but sometimes I can't. My home in the mountains of California was beautifully quite. Some of our campgrounds are silent in the night, but many daily noises are difficult to block out. All I can say is the trade off for the wonders we have seen has been worth the noise.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like you will have a new adventure for a couple of months! I bet you will enjoy the quiet of the Refuge. I know I don't like hustle and bustle and noise and traffic...uffda!:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your new adventure sounds so exciting... what an array of birds to see! Bill & I had a compost toilet when we had our farm in Ohio... but it didn't work like yours. Guess that's a new adventure of a different kind ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks like you landed a great assignment. Hilarious description of the compost toilet ... thanks for the chuckle.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, Judy, we should have explained it a bit better I would think. That toilet is also electric, but we didn't plug it in because it is a bit noisy. You didn't need any more noise! The electricity heats the organic matter (peat or sawdust) and everything just decomposes nicely. No odor. Not sure how it would be for a large family for extended use, but for sporadic guests it works fine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice explanation on the composting toilet. I've heard of them but had no clue how they worked.

    I think you chose a great place to spend a few months. I hope the smoke is gone by the time you get there so you can get some great pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have never heard of a compost toilet either. What an invention. haha

    Sounds like your next "home base" is going to a great adventure. Looking forward to all the bird photos.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looking forward to your stay at bird heaven- hopefully neither you or the birds will be bothered by smoke.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hope you find the refuge quiet. I don't think I've been near the VC, but I stopped once at a viewing area nearby. It will be right up your alley to watch the fall migration, and I look forward to the pictures you will be posting. Glad you got a feel for the place beforehand. Aside from the noise/lack of noise, I imagine there is a considerable difference in the daily temperatures.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm with Gypsy. I can hardly wait to see your pictures of all the birds you'll be watching. Mo and Sue seem to be wonderful people and they truly understood your need for peace and quiet.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You new place looks like it will be a wonderful experience am sure you will enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd have been befuddled by that "Hi Tech" toilet, too, so don't feel bad. I guess I'm happy living with "Old" technology. :cD

    ReplyDelete
  13. Never had any experience with compost toilets, but lots of experience with out houses. Are not out houses considered compost toilets?

    ReplyDelete
  14. If I ever get a Class B RV, I definitely want a composting toilet.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm so excited about your next experience! And thanks for the explanation of a compost toilet. I've always wondered how those worked!

    ReplyDelete
  16. The outhouse I grew up with on the the farm did not have any instructions. Maybe that is why it smelled so bad in the summer!

    ReplyDelete
  17. awwww. . .I'm glad you're excited about your next NWR adventure. . .good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am excited for you and Emma and for us! We get to see bird pictures and learn interesting things about them! Sounds like a fun 2 months!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Judy, we are so sorry the last 3 months have not been a good gig! We were surprised how busy a campground it was when we stopped by!! Here's to hoping the Tule Lake NWR is a lot better! Loved your photos as always, but to see White Pelicans mixed in with White Great Egrets was fantastic and unusual! It was really great to finally meet you! Best of wishes, Kathy & Grant

    ReplyDelete
  20. That sounds really neat. I'd take a birder paradise most anyplace....:)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Awesome!!

    https://thehostelhoppers.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Don't know how I came to this party SO late. Blame it on the terrible internet we've had all summer. But I'm so glad to see these pictures of your soon to be home. I can sure see how you'll love it. Hope you'll get some rain so you can see the wetlands at their best. No rain - low water - fires - smoke. The west has had a very rough year. Sounds like I may be one of the only people familiar with a composting toilet. Love them actually. SO much less water use. As in almost none. I know an RVer who had one in her rig.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank for your great Sharing. I have read your article. I think it is really helpful article. Really you are great. You create a knowledge house. Everyone can get more idea from your site. They can develop their skill. Thank again.
    Accounting jobs Sydney

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank for create opportunity to buy and sale real estate home. I like most your site.
    Phoenix Real Estate Homes For Sale Phoenix AZ Search for all current residential listings When you are not looking for Phoenix real estate you can .
    phoenix arizona real estate

    ReplyDelete
  25. It looks like it will be a fun two months, especially with the fall migration presenting, I hope, many birds for viewing and photographing! Enjoy these best of times!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful Photos! So impressive!

    www.amy-gibbs.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

    ReplyDelete