Monday, July 23, 2012

It’s back to the grindstone tomorrow

After just about three months of bumming around the southeast, I’ll be back in the salt mines come morning.  Of course, if I’m honest, I’d have to say that I’m rather looking forward to it.  It gives me a reason for getting up in the morning, and generally what I’m asked to do is more fun than work.  As a volunteer, I always have the option of saying I’m not comfortable doing certain tasks.  I’ve only done that once in the last six years, and it involved scrubbing a men’s urinal with a toothbrush.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.  Anyway, I’m excited to get back to helping the public enjoy our National Wildlife Refuges.

So, what did I do on my last day of ‘vacation’?  Chores of course.  I had several phone calls to make to set up my mail delivery, and check on my dental insurance.  There was also the matter of clearing up the bill from my visit to a clinic in Mississippi in April.  Next, I changed my Netflix delivery address so I’ll be getting movies again. 


Then it was time to go to the post office in Manns Harbor so I could return two movie DVDs to Netflix.  On the way there, I took the back roads to the refuge maintenance area so I could drop off my trash in the closest dumpster.  Yep, it’s a drive of about five miles to get rid of my garbage.  I spotted a black bear along the way.  Can you find him?


As long as I was in Manns Harbor, I decided to stop at a small area that had a pier leading out into the bay.  This nice boardwalk and pier was built in honor of a local woman that was afflicted with MS.  It is totally handicapped accessible, and is located at the beginning of one of the long bridges between Manns Harbor and Manteo. 

_MG_9468 _MG_9469

For an hour or so each sunrise and sunset, the speed limit on the bridge is reduced from 55 mph to 20 mph.  That’s because up to 100,000 purple martins use this bridge as a roosting site each night during the summer and early fall. 


Emma and I were there at high noon, so the only martins around were those that were nesting in a martin house next to the pier.


The lighting in the middle of the day is awful for pictures, but I wanted to show one of the reasons that purple martins like this bay area.  There are a gazillion insects available for them, and this mama was bringing a big red dragonfly home to feed her youngsters.


Purple martins are colonial nesters, which means they nest in colonies.  It does not mean they came over on the Mayflower.  Who me?  I love to listen to their chatter as they ply the skies.  I think it’s a kind of  bubbling liquid sound.


Here’s the long bridge heading to Manteo that they roost under.  As it gets closer to September, I plan to return near sunset to observe the masses of martins coming in to roost.  By that time many birds from the north will be stopping here to refuel and build up fat supplies on the abundant insect population for their arduous journey down to Brazil for the winter.  Being here for a couple of months allows me to discover these little special places that aren’t found in any tourist pamphlet.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy