Friday, November 18, 2011

Watching for a red bird of a different feather

I’m a pretty planful person, and my schedule for today was to pick up the road closure maps I forgot yesterday at headquarters, post them at the VIS on the refuge, and do grocery shopping in the afternoon.  My morning went pretty much as planned.  While I was at the VIS, fellow volunteer Bob helped me get into the storage pod to get a five gallon pail for trash pick up, and showed me the electric vehicle that volunteers have been asked to make use of when doing things on the refuge.  I’ll show you a picture of that tomorrow if I get it running for a drive down the refuge roads.  I may try to use it next week to do some salinity testing.  I’ve been told not to stomp on the accelerator pedal or you’ll do a wheelie!  Could be an exciting ride.

I came back to the rig for lunch, and that’s when my plans changed.

_MG_4064As I was getting ready to go shopping, Stephanie gave me a call and asked if I’d like to go on a field trip with her.  Patrick, the refuge biologist, was doing an aerial survey of the waterfowl using the refuge.  We would be on the usually closed East Unit watching for the big red bird to fly over.  Hmmm… go grocery shopping or observe birds?  You know my answer!

_MG_4052As we spotted the plane in the distance, it began to kick up the snow geese.  There are about 83 geese in this small flock.


As the plane got closer, it seemed to be enveloped in the flock as more and more geese took to the air.


This bunch alone appeared to have close to 10,000 geese in it.  (click to enlarge)  These birds were about a mile away from where we were stationed. 


Then they buzzed the moist soil units where we were parked.  This area had thousands of ducks resting and feeding on it.  They rose in a huge cloud.


What a sight it was to see!  I couldn’t even guess how many thousands of ducks were in this one picture frame.  Without the refuge, there would be no place for these true Texas “Snow” birds!  These numbers boggle the mind.  It’s like watching the ‘Great Migration’ shows I’ve been DVRing.  I truly feel lucky to be able to observe this awesomeness. 

_MG_4074On our way back to the rigs, we got a brief view of one of our sunset seranaders.  This was a rather scruffy looking coyote compared to others I’ve seen on the refuge.  Perhaps the drought has effected them as well.  So, do you think I should have gone grocery shopping instead?  Ha Ha…not on your life!


                                                                                     THE END!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy