This morning I was up and out the door fairly early to lead a bird tour on the refuge. I really didn’t expect anyone to show up at 8:30 in the morning in this out of the way location, especially in the middle of July. It’s not exactly prime birding time. Late May is the prime time here to see and hear all kinds of birds setting up their breeding territories. By the middle of July many birds have stopped singing as they’re all busy raising families.
I was surprised on two counts. First, eight people showed up for the tour. Secondly, we spotted a Wilson’s snipe sitting atop a burned tree perch to start the day. What an uncommon find. It was a good birding day, and everyone was happy by the end of the tour.
This group of birders was interested in more than just birds, and we enjoyed finding other natural things like this morning glory with a couple of pollinators.
I think this is a Compton Tortoiseshell butterfly that we spotted also. These guys hibernate over winter in the shelter of hollow trees or under bark.
I found my first monarch caterpillar of the season snacking away on a milkweed plant that was just beginning to bloom. Everyone else in the group was excited about this find as well. Leading a group of enthusiastic nature lovers is so much fun. No one even complained about the deer flies and ticks. I had to chuckle when one woman said, “Don’t look up at the inside roof of the van.” It was covered with deer flies, but no one asked to have all the windows closed. They wanted to see and hear everything.
I worked the afternoon in the VC, and along about 2:30 or so Merikay and Craig showed up to say hello and watch the refuge movie. They’re fellow full-timers and bloggers. We’ll be getting together again tomorrow for a refuge tour and BBQ. I’m going to put them to work helping me fill pamphlets in the kiosks.
Last night as I sat outside with Emma, I perused my road atlas maps contemplating my trip when I leave here in the middle of September. I do love to page through the maps dreaming about routes to take and places to see rather than relying on the internet. That’s when I had a brainstorm.
Perhaps some of you remember when my brother Kurt (aka Nurse Ratchet) came to stay with me and help me survive my hip replacement at Okefenokee NWR about a year and a half ago. Well, I got to thinking that I know he likes road trips, he’s retired, and I would be heading down to Arizona to visit him before my next assignment at Imperial NWR for the winter. I gave him a call and proposed that he be my traveling companion from Tamarac to there.
He said he liked the idea, but would have to check with the ‘Boss’, his wife Jody, in the next week or two. What a surprise today when I got an email from him that said it was a go. She had agreed. Cool beans! After eight years on the road alone, it will be nice to have someone else to share adventures with along the way. I think we’ll both be checking maps and things to see over the next two months. I do know he’s never been to Yellowstone, and it’s one of my all time favorite places. Let the planning begin.
Jody still works so that’s the reason we all couldn’t do this. She did have one condition though to this idea. We won’t be allowed to visit any places in Arizona without her. I can live with that. Maybe she could get a few days off and meet us in, say, the Grand Canyon? Otherwise, if she can’t, I’m not sure how I’m going to drive through Arizona with my eyes closed…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy