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Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I bit the bullet during a busy week

Since last Thursday, I’ve been pretty busy helping with the waterfowl hunt on the refuge. 

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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.  Winking smile

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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.

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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.

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                                                                        Pied-billed grebe

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. 

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                                                           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.

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                                                                          Canvasback

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.

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                               Northern shoveler, aka: smiling mallard, spoonie, or Hollywood mallard.

IMG_1084                                                                            Choir practice??

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.

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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!  Smile  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…

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                                                                             THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

30 comments:

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  3. Looks like a good choice with your lens. The pictures look so clear. I especially like "the end" dabbler. Becki

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  4. Wow, those images are razor sharp! Great lens choice! Now you've got me thinking!! Fortunately the guys from Sigma, Tamron & Canon (as well as the Leica & Zeiss binocular folks) are coming to Bosque in a month for our Crane Festival and they'll be bringing along lenses and binocs for folks to try out. Somehow, I fear all the savings I've made from volunteering this season will fly out the window once I try out some of the good stuff!!!

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  5. Great pictures!!!! I'd say it was a good purchase!!! That you will get a lot of use out of!!

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  6. Great choice of lenses. Pics came out super sharp.

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  7. You spend one large bill on a very nice lens and we get to enjoy the best of your work.... What could be wrong with that situation... Of course from our stand point we think its wonderful.... Keep up the good work....

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  8. Yep love that lens, excellent pics.

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  9. The pictures are great. What a nice gift for all your fans and followers! thanks!

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  10. I'd like the onion aroma in the air... and I sure like the photos you're taking with your new lens!

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  11. I am glad you bit the bullet. I think you will love the camera. Great photos.

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  12. I love the "end" shot! Have fun with that new lens!

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  13. I love the "end" shot! Have fun with that new lens!

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  14. We have duck hunters here this morning at our campground on Ennis Lake. It's not a refuge but a fishing access site in MT. Personally I think they're nuts because it was only 34 degrees and they were out there before the sun even thought about coming up. We also had deer wandering through the campground and they must be used to the hunters because their heads came up but they didn't run when the booms went off.

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  15. I'm so glad you went ahead and bought the lens when you did. Many of us want something but keep putting it off, and then miss those golden opportunities to use it. I can really see the difference in your photos.

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  16. I'm loving your new lens! Beautiful photos Judy!

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  17. Your photos always look great to me....and they are beautiful as usual. I do love my zoom lens on my old Kodak...I really need to step into the 2000's and get a new, less cumbersome digital camera...Our Hummers left last week, but our leaves are slow in turning this year. We had record breaking rain in June..I actually had to wash the mildew off our Hiker this week...YUK!

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  18. I think the lens is a 'keeper'.

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  19. Way to go ! I am thrilled for you and your photos are wonderful! :)

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  20. Looks to me like you have a winner there with the new lens and I don't think you have much of a learning curve, your photos are great!

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  21. Oh my. What a lens! I love it. The photos are gorgeous, Judy. Sign. I guess you will be leaving before we can get back down there to say "hi" and "bye" one last time. It has been a helluva summer. So glad your refuge time has ended so beautifully.

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  22. Now that you've bought that big, expensive lens, don't drop it! :cO

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  23. You've got the knack for photography no matter what equipment you use. On of the best 'the end' you have ever done.

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  24. That's a beauty of a header picture. Love the last two as well. I think you are going to be very happy with your lens. We're at the age where we might as well spend it while we can.

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  25. That is quite a lens! I know that you'll get a lot of use out of it and take even more great pictures!

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  26. Most interesting though I gave up duck hunting about ten years ago now...:)

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