Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A little hike, a little disaster, and a little battle begins.

It was a day filled with minor defugalties.  (spell check has no suggestions for that spelling, but it’s a word I’ve used forever to describe small problems)  Yesterday afternoon I set out to do my laundry, but another volunteer was using the washer and dryer.  So I went back again this morning at 8:30, and yet a different volunteer had beat me to the laundry room.  So, I packed up my cameras and Emma and headed for the Skillern Tract for a little hike.

64 Anahuac NWR 20116

The Skillern Tract is one of the few areas open to the public on the refuge that has water in it, and it is handicapped accessible.  Because of the drought, most of the moist soil units are bone dry.  When working at the VIS, we suggest to all birders that they drive a further 10 miles to visit this area.

_MG_4282It’s a very nice walk through riparian habitat along East Bay Bayou.  This morning, the trees along the bayou were just bubbling with American goldfinches and sparrows.  I also saw blue-gray gnatcatchers and an orange-crowned warbler, but they were reluctant to pose for a picture. 

_MG_4254The paved trail culminates in a wooden overlook (pictured above in the collage).  The marsh surrounding the overlook was loaded with feeding blue-winged teal and northern shovelers. 


There were also several good sized groups of black-bellied whistling ducks.  They were more interested in resting than whistling while Emma and I were there.  Winking smile It was at this point that I decided to change lenses on the camera, and was shocked to see that my telephoto lens had four huge cracks across the lens.  Disaster!  It took me a moment to calm down and remember that I always use some kind of filter to help protect my lenses.  Phew!  The lens itself was fine, just the filter was cracked.


This noisy little marsh wren was chattering away at us as we left the overlook.  Now Emma is no bird watcher, but she finds enough other things along the way to sniff and investigate.  Today was no exception.


Being a true dog, her first reaction to this scat (probably from a raccoon) was to roll in it.  When I dissuaded her from doing that, her next step was to try to eat it!  Yuck!  Dogs are so disgusting sometimes.

Back at the ranch, I decided to check on the five mousetraps I set yesterday in various places around the rig.  I had discovered evidence of an unwanted guest the other day so bought some more armament yesterday.  That crafty little mouse had managed to eat the peanut butter clean off of two of the traps without setting them off.  So, the battle begins.  Mouse 1, me 0.  This is just the first inning, and I’m determined to be victorious. 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy