Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hitchhiker Owners Meeting

Our first meeting of the season was held here last week with several of our Hitchhiker 5th wheel owners.  My favorite pizza!!!  There's Wallace at the back of the line.

It is a time for fellowship, food, and exchange of info.  The group was small, but the January meeting should be bigger since that is the time more of our winter Texans arrive.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Party at the Refuge

I bet you recognize a lot of these people.  We had our party on the 15th.  The ham and turkey were provided while the rest was potluck.  We had good attendance and some laughs as the gift exchange took place.  Some were wondering who would end up with the LOUD bicycle shorts that has been making the rounds ever since Wallace ended up with them several years ago, and he ended up with them again at our volunteer party at the close of the season last year.  He has plans for them!!!  I wonder who will get them this year?  He will award them at the end of this season.

Here is Imer, carving up the ham.  He is our supervisor with biology.  I also work under Mitchell's supervision doing the salt lakes survey.

This is what my plate looked like minus the dessert.  It was really delicious.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

News from Santa Ana and LRGV NWR

Because of the drought, we are short on water at various places this season.  We know that the salt lakes can dry up at times and they have...even the fresh water areas are scant on water for the wildlife.  However, when we went out to La Sal del Ray before sunrise, we got a thousand Snow Geese with a few Sandhill Cranes that came in to roost for the night.  We went the evening before to see what was coming in to roost.  We counted 6000 sandhills as they flew right over us...where are they roosting now???  As we were busy watching the sandhills, the geese landed on the opposite side of the lake without being detected until I decided to scan before we left.  Not knowing for sure what they were as it was dark by this time, we decided to come back early before they left for the day to count them and make sure they were geese.  Upon our arrival, we saw these nilgai at the watering hole.

There were 5 of them but I cropped the picture.  Notice the beautiful colored ears and ankles.  I got off several shots before they took off.  Because of lack of water, no Eared Grebes.  There are just a few Snowy Plovers, and our Peregrine Falcon is back!!

Santa Ana (Willow) has been exceptional this season.  Last year we were flooded.  Pintail and Cattail Lakes are drawn down to get rid of the Alligator Gar that are present.  With the river pump being worked on, and getting rid of the gar, those two areas I survey have very little water.  I did discover two Mountain Bluebirds out at Cattail Lake.

We have Redheads, Canvasbacks, Bufflehead, and an Eared Grebe at Willow.  Very unusual.

Here are the Mountain Bluebirds, I hope they hang around for the CBC.

I'm standing in the middle of La Sal del Ray.  A first for me.

I am not surveying El Morillo for a while.  El Ranchito and La Gloria have tons of waterfowl and shorebirds AND VEGETATION making it frustrating with poor count.

There are tons of Ruddy Ducks.  Some have sighted the Masked Duck...I have not.  All mine have been ruddies so far but I keep looking.

An extra work day...we went out with our favorite biologist!!!

This season, I will be surveying Santa Ana every other week freeing up time for other things.  Jennifer talked with me yesterday to set up volunteer tours once again.
They will be offered twice a month starting January 11th.

Once Wallace's partner arrives, he will be doing other things for Imer.  In the meantime, he gets to accompany me.

We are now getting some rain.  Hopefully the salt lakes will have water and things will be restored.

See some of you soon!!!