Sunday, December 4, 2011

Is salinity testing boring?

Not on your life!  At least not for me.  Come along with me on yesterday’s adventure on the refuge.  I picked up fellow volunteers, Barbara and James, as I left the RV pads.  They were interested in going along with me since I would be on one of the roads not open to the public while I went about my testing.  (the last two pictures tonight, and any with me in them were taken by them even though they’ll have my watermark)

64 Anahuac NWR 201110

First stop was down by the bay.  After a walk through some cow plops, we made it to the water structure of Ditch #1.  The probe is dropped to the bottom of the waterway and then raised a couple of inches off the bottom.  We take three readings at each stop to get an average.

64 Anahuac NWR 201112

Since I had help with me, we shared the duties.  The readings turned out saltier than last week, and the water was flowing in the opposite direction.  Tides do play a factor in these readings.  As you can see in the left hand picture, I bring my walking stick along to help me maintain my balance as I climb up onto the water structure.  Staff adjusts the openings in these structures to change water flow.

64 Anahuac NWR 201111

The second stop was at a popular crabbing location on the refuge.  After we took our readings here, I talked to some of the folks to find out more about the fine art of crabbing.  Having grown up in the Midwest, I knew nothing about it.


Luckily, this gentleman was more than willing to educate me about the process.  The first thing you do is toss a string with a chicken leg tied to the end into the water.  Then you let it rest there a while.


              After soaking for a bit, you gingerly pull on the string to see if there is any resistance.

IMG_0274If there is, you slowly pull the string in and get your net ready.  If you pull too fast, the crabs let go of the chicken leg.


If you know what you’re doing, you scoop the net under the end of the string to catch the crab.  This one scoop resulted in four crabs on that one chicken leg!  Then you toss the leg back into the water and begin the whole process again.


Then you toss the crabs into a cooler.  I asked the man what he did with all of these blue crabs.  He boils them, and then picks out the meat to add to his shrimp and sausage gumbo.  As I’ve said before, learning something new each day makes life interesting._MG_4425You always see something new on the roads in the refuge, and yesterday was a day for pelicans.  We didn’t see one pelican along here last week.


                               This week the pelicans were around every curve, both white and brown.


We also had the treat of finding some roseate spoonbills in the marsh.  Pink is not a color often found in birdland.  That coloring is the result of the shrimp that they eat.


One thing remained the same on this road however.  If you step out of the vehicle, you will surely be most popular with the mosquitoes!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy