Saturday, May 30, 2015

Road Trip

We were asked if we would like to go to Bismarck to pick up some signs for the refuge, and while we were out, we could stop by two other refuges to visit. I had mentioned to Colleen we would be visiting as many refuges as we could while here, after all, we like to visit and get our book stamped. It's nice to be able to do it on somebody else's dime. She suggested it and we took her up on it. 

The two refuges were located on the way to Bismarck. This is the one we stopped at on our way...Chase Lake. We walked into the headquarters building and were met by someone we worked with at Santa Ana NWR in South Texas. He saw us as we got out of the truck and thought, "there is no way that is them." We heard this deep voice behind us saying, "you are a long way from Texas aren't you?" It was Drew Williams, now assistant manager of that refuge. He introduced us to the project manager, who thought it would be a good idea for Drew to show us around the refuge. No time today, but we will be back for that treat!!! It was so good to see him and catch up with what is going on in his life. You just never know who you might see. We will have a post about that trip later.

The best bird we saw there was this Black Tern. The photo is not the best as he just would not stay still!!!

After Bismarck, we stopped by another refuge on our way back.

These are grebes...I think they are Clark's Grebes...the yellow bill and lighter flanks, but then look at the eye which makes me think they could be Western??? Anyway, I love that red eye!!!

The birding in the area has been fantastic. We have enjoyed watching birds from our dining window...we are up to 56 species of birds in our yard. We have a total of 148 species overall, with two of them being life birds for our list.

Until next time...

Friday, May 29, 2015

YCC Building

I said I would show you the finished project when we finished with it. Sometimes it takes a while to get the things you need to accomplish a task. This is what we had to start with when Colleen asked us if we would like to clean and organize the Youth Conservation Corps building.

Remember, there were also two kayaks stacked in that open space when we started...we removed those to another building where the rest of the kayaks are stored, hanging them from straps on the wall. Now this is what we have.

We removed one of the red cabinets (boy, was that heavy), and added the big gray cabinet in the first photo. We exchanged those cabinets at Lake Alice, using a trailer to transport them. The first photo just needs the towel dispenser attached to the wall. The small locker cabinet will hold their hard hats, safety glasses etc., where they can put their names on the door. After cleaning the big gray cabinet, it is ready for whatever supplies...they can decide that. We placed the tree trimmers down low so nobody will get whacked in the head, and emptied the blue trash barrel that held the waders (now they hang from pegs in that place). All the cones were stacked together. Where the blue trash barrel is is where the three recycle containers go. The John Deere mower and the ztr mower will reside there again in the empty space. Now, one can move around. Let's see how long it stays that way!!!

Oh yes, I did finish all 7 coasters!!!

Until next time...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Snow in May

This is what we woke up to this morning. This is a view out our dining window.

Wallace braved the cold to snap this shot.

Knowing this was what we were going to get for the weekend, I prepared lasagna and a big pot of vegetable soup to get us through the bad weather.

We have enjoyed sitting at the table, watching the birds at and below the feeding station.

This is so funny...this grosbeak feeding like a woodpecker...look at his tail...just like a woodpecker...and he is managing to extract some suet with that huge bill. A Yellow-rumped Warbler is flying in behind him.

Until next time... 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This is for the Birds

The birds are migrating through and the birding has been phenomenal!!!

Since Colleen can no longer feed the birds around the visitor center (the seeds bring mice), I asked if I could borrow a shepherd's hook along with a couple of feeders to bring down to our place. We don't feed the birds for the same reason...but I could not resist. We will keep a small bag of seed inside to keep this going while we are here. One sure way of getting photos of some amazing birds like this beautiful male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

I was happy to pull this shot off. I have never seen underneath the wing before. Where his color is pink, the females is yellow. Sure, it shows this in the bird book, but I have never seen it before. But then, we are not in a place to see this bird that often.

So, we put the feeders up and brought in the birds!!! 

American Goldfinches joined in.

The Pine Siskins flew in and took over. Notice the yellow tinge in the wing and heavy streaking on the body.

Then House Finches came in to get their share.

Here is the Downy Woodpecker and notice below his larger "cousin," and compare sizes.

He is on the same feeder. These two are hard to tell apart in the field. This is the Hairy Woodpecker. Larger in size and longer bill sets these two apart. Also their foraging habits are different.

I really needed this...the birding fever is BACK. It has been a while since we have been in a really birdie place, and I became very lax.

Our yard count is up to 38, with total count of 102. The waterfowl has been just as rewarding. Our only life bird is the Sharp-tailed Grouse. With our life list being over 700, it gets harder and harder to add to it.

This was our first glimpse of the grouse when we took a trip to Arrowwood  NWR just south of where we are located. It was raining and the shot was taken through
the window (poor quality) plus the fact I was a little excited. We stopped at the lek where we saw another eight of displaying though!!!

We are up to 11 warblers flying through our front yard. The Northern Waterthrush was feeding in the yard...I thought they were always supposed to be near water!!!

Yesterday, as we were leaving, just past the visitor center, I noticed a Red-headed Woodpecker. I immediately called Colleen to let her know about it so she could come see it (she has never seen one). It is listed as rare here??? We talked about revising the list as this is not the only one listed this way that we have seen.

We have been able to study the Clay-colored Sparrow feeding below the feeder. This is one sparrow to get to know better.  

I thought I should include the female grosbeak.

Your comments keep me going...thanks and you know who you are!!!

Until next time...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Migratory Bird Day

This is our visitor center at Sully's Hill NGP.  

There are 22 Bison and 11 elk on the refuge.  These Bison were feeding right in front of where we are living.  We have seen 8 elk. The elk herd is having a problem with winter ticks.

The fliers we distributed around town were fliers inviting people out for Migratory Bird Day which was held on Saturday.  The weather turned cold and windy, so the turnout was small.

We had several games and activities set up, but the wagon ride seemed to be very popular.  Wallace got to drive them around on the tour route while I helped at the table with "Birding with Binoculars game."  I think somebody said we had a total of 40 visitor's.

Hope you were able to get out and participate in birding.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

1 Down, 14 to go

weeks, that is, here at Sully's Hill NGP.  We arrived and went right to work.  Orientation, driving around town, putting up fliers for an event coming up, participating in an EE program.

This is half the group.  There are two classrooms in the visitor center for teachers to use.  Notice the duck stamp drawings in the background.  

First, off on a wagon ride as we identify birds.  These kids learn 10 birds a week.

After birding, we disembark the wagon and climb the hill where we check the wind speed (30 mph) and talk about prescribed burns.


The recently burned area, behind the kids is where the firefighters talk about controlled burns.

It is now lunchtime, the kids leave.  After lunch, we are sent to Lake Alice NWR (another one in the complex).

Lake Alice is where the old headquarters was once located.  Only the quonset hut is left, and it is full of STUFF.  We were there to see if we could find a cabinet.  More on that later.

Saturday, a four hour day, we started cleaning and organizing the YCC building.

The open space held two kayaks which we moved to another building.  I will show the final shot when we finish.

Colleen had these straps for us to hang the two other kayaks.  Now all 10 kayaks are together in the same building.  WHEW!!!  We are now free to wash all our dirty laundry.

We have only one washer and dryer to be shared with 5 other people, and it is in their bunkhouse.  That, along with our assigned day to wash...not convenient!!!  

The water here is yellow...sulfur.  Looks like we will be buying our drinking water and spending time at a laundromat.

I woke this morning at 6:00 am to go on a bird walk here at the refuge...I should have stayed in bed.  Nice day, but it turned out to be more of a social event.  Some did not even have binoculars and chatted the whole time!!!

Wallace has found four crawling wood ticks on his person.

Other than that...we like our location where we are situated for the next 14 weeks.  The trees are just now leafing is going to be pretty in the next week or so.

Until next time...