My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Monday, November 14, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Yesterday, Sunday,  was a wonderful day.  I started out early enough to make a quick pass around our six mile auto tour.  A helicopter few low over the fields and put up thousands of geese. They looked like smoke  in the distance and then got larger and more defined as the ones closer leaped into the sky. By the time the helicopter has passed over the refuge, at least ninety-eight percent of the geese were in the air, along with a few of the ducks. But most of the ducks continued to swim calmly around.

A few of thousands of geese put up by the helicopter


Our supervisor came up with a wonderful schedule for the six volunteers.  We work in pairs and I get paired up with Ann, another lady traveling solo.  The rest of the volunteers are couples. The new schedule has A, B and C divisions and we will work through all of them each weekend. This means we will get to roam at one of three complexes, take a three hour or so tour at the visitor center, or do work in the office, and then maybe get to go around the auto loop at Sacramento.  And Ann loves to drive so I get to be the passenger and  lean out the window and take pictures.

Ann and I got to be the A group today.  First we had the onerous job of driving over to Colusa NWR, another main refuge in our complex.  We did the auto tour and I got pictures of an American Bittern, a big female red-tailed hawk and some night herons which have a big roost there. We also chatted with people we met while going around the tour and on the platform.  (We bring a scope and brochures, set up on the platform,  and give people good looks at the birds and tell them about the other refuges.)  Many of them go from one to the other since many of them have come from the Bay Area or from Redding, and have driven over an hour to get to us.

American bittern

Red-tailed hawk

Black-crowned night herons
Then we came back and ran the visitor center to a light influx of visitors. After three hours, we got to do a free - no work and drive in a refuge vehicle - around the Sacramento Auto Tour. We found some other real good birds, including bufflehead and a western grebe.



Western grebe

We had to tear ourselves away to get back to headquarters by 4:00.  Then, as we came out of the office, all the volunteers got to see a flock of about thirty tundra swans fly directly overhead.  They didn't stop at the refuge, but this is the second batch in the area, so hopefully, I'll soon get good looks at them.

Just another workday in the volunteering life.  God, I love it!