Saturday, February 11, 2012

I got skunked! :(


It was a bit nippy as I headed for the visitor's center.  Even fluffed up Mr. Mockingbird found himself a perch to catch the morning’s first rays.  We had a good sized 4-H group scheduled to visit the refuge this morning from Mobile, AL.  Eleven kids and adults showed up on time for the 8:00 tour, so Doug, the Volunteer Coordinator, took them out in the big van.  I remained behind in case any late stragglers arrived. 

Sure enough, about 45 minutes later, the leader and her four kids ranging in age from 3 to 15 showed up.  She informed me right off the bat that the reason they were late was because she had an argument with her oldest son, Max, this morning about taking along a jacket.  Ah yes, teenagers.  That’s the age group I like best.  So, as grumpy looking Max got into the mini-van, I asked him if he would sit in front with me and be in charge of opening and unlocking/locking the gates on our tour.  He immediately brightened, and turned out to be a delightful young man that was very interested in everything about our abbreviated tour.  I might also point out that he was very happy to have his jacket along as the winds were howling out of the north.  Winking smile


Because of their late arrival, we only had time to go down one refuge road.  Because of that, I chose the road with the eagle’s nest so we’d get there before Doug’s group arrived.  Just as I put down my camera to put the car in gear, that adult eagle hopped to the edge of the nest and took off.  Its exit from the nest gave everyone a fantastic view of the size of the bird and how large its wingspan is.  It was going off hunting to feed those youngsters.

I then drove to the only place where we might have a chance at scoring some cranes.  There were 18 cranes in the field surrounding one of the release pens yesterday, but due to the high winds today we scored a big fat zero.  Sad smile  Little did I know that Doug and his tour were a short distance behind us, and he had told his group that if we had seen a large number of cranes today that they would attack me.  There is some good natured competition between tour leaders, and lately I had been breaking records and being called the crane whisperer.  Doug had nothing to worry about today.

66 MS Sandhill Crane NWR 201219

More 4-H members arrived at the refuge as we returned from the tours.  A couple of us also helped with the education program for all the folks, and took them on a short hike in the savannah to show them the carnivorous plants.  After the group left, and there was a lull in other visitors, I stepped out back and found a nice little flock of palm warblers working the back lawn for insects.  This is the first time I’ve been able to get photos of this warbler.

It was a busy day, and after my busy week I’ll be happy to have tomorrow off to take care of laundry chores and maybe get Emma out for a good hike.  I’ll be leaving the water faucet running tonight as temps are supposed to get down into the upper 20’s tonight.  I also made sure that I’ve got plenty of water in the tank just in case.

_MG_6144                                                                                   THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy