Since last Thursday, I’ve been pretty busy helping with the waterfowl hunt on the refuge.
It all started with having to clean the hunter check station. It hasn’t been used since last year’s hunt, and you can imagine how dusty and grimy it was inside and out. I’ll be working here until I leave next week, so I didn’t mind getting it in shape. Each morning there’s a drawing for a whole bunch of spaced blinds at 4:30 in the morning.
That’s a little early for me, so I chose to work the afternoon shift. Any hunter that gets a blind has to report their harvest, or lack of such, by 2:30 in the afternoon to the check station. I then compute all the statistics on what was shot and where, and post it on the outside of the station so the next morning’s hunters can see where the birds are.
It was pretty crazy over the opening weekend. Things slow down during the week though. Hunting is allowed every day of the week until 1:00 in the afternoon until some time in February. Every one tells me that it is unusual to be this warm here at this time in October. That’s what they’re blaming the low take on anyway.
One evening last week, I looked out my door right around sunset and was a little concerned with the smoke in the air. With all the fires that have happened in CA and OR, it was a bit unsettling.
As I drove to the check station a few days later, I figured out that the smoke was from the burning of the grain fields after harvest. I’ve read that they then flood these fields. I’ll see if that’s what happens.
Over the weekend I finally decided to bite the bullet and order a Sigma 150-600 mm zoom lens from Amazon. It was delivered this afternoon, so after work and reading the directions (yes, I’m one of those direction readers) you know I had to take a drive on the refuge to try it out.
The birds are a bit more skittish since the opening of hunting season, so most of these shots are at quite some distance. The refuge lens I was using was a Tamron, and I noticed some small issues with the automatic focus buzzing in and out. That resulted in some missed shots. I didn’t seem to have that problem with the Sigma.
Very young western (?) grebe
I was surprised to find this young grebe on the water. Seems a little late in the year to find one still in fluffy feathers. No adults were near by so I’m not sure if it’s a western or a Clark’s grebe.
Besides the big potato harvest that is winding down, another one of the crops that are harvested in the area is onions. They’re white onions that I’m thinking you’ll never find in your grocery store. I’ve been told they’re incredibly hot and are used for dehydrating. I guess you’d find them in things like dried onions and onion salt. I prefer Vidalia or sweet onions, so I won’t be picking up any of these onions that fall off of the huge trucks. I do like to have my windows open on the vehicle when I’m driving down the road and passing one of these trucks though. The aroma as they pass is like sweet chives. I just like sniffing it in. Can’t imagine what the workers smell like by the end of the day though.
Northern shoveler, aka: smiling mallard, spoonie, or Hollywood mallard.
I’ve got tomorrow off before heading back to the check station on Thursday. It’s about time to slowly start packing things up. I’ve been able to talk one of the young brown shirts into helping check the tire pressures on the rig next week. Since my air compressor is broken, he assured me that he could use a refuge compressor if necessary. One more worry off the list.
So, what do I think of my trial run with the new lens? I’ve got a learning curve ahead of me for sure, but let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be sending it back! If I return here next summer/fall, I just can’t wait to try to get some shots of the western grebes doing their mating dance…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy