My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Preview of My Next Summer Home

One of the things that Bob G. and I did, while traveling to Minnesota, was to spend an afternoon and night at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, where I'll be working next summer.  One of the neatest things about it, is that there are two primitive campsites there. (So lots of you can visit - I'll feed you.) Bob and I chose to go to the most open one because it was near to a lake full of birds. And also because we knew there were a few campers at the other campground.  But we visited the other one the next morning,  and found it has a natural spring with delicious water. Another neat thing about the refuge is that it is less than 50 miles from Yellowstone, so I expect to spend a lot of time in Yellowstone.


Although the weather was very cloudy, we could see that the refuge is in the bottom of a bowl and has lakes, ponds, and fields.  The landscape is not as dramatic as National Bison Range, but I think it supports more species of animals.

A view on the way into the refuge

This large grove of aspen looked like a good birding spot

 This place is a birder's paradise because one of its missions is to provide habitat for trumpeter swans.  So all kinds of other water and wading birds nest there.  You'll find out more about this when I do, after I start doing my bird surveys and my  recreational birding. And if there is enough water - not the case this year - one can paddle from the upper to the lower lake.

An immature red-tail hawk who was probably born here

Sandhill cranes were calling from all directions

We saw lots of ducks and several swans but most were too far away to photograph

By evening,  threatening weather improved and gave us an outstanding sunset.  While the landscape is not too dramatic, the sky goes on forever.

Sunset coloring the storm clouds

Reflections of sunset

Bob walking around in the evening light

This is a remote refuge, and seldom visited so doesn't have a large visitor center. But it does have some interesting displays in the office.

Entrance kiosk with office building in the background

The immediate area has a series of buildings that look like a little town but are really part of an institute.

One of the store-front buildings with animal banner

The next morning we explored a little more on our way out.  We had much prettier weather, starting with a gorgeous sunrise.

Early morning sun on water adn birds

Hills across the lake with reflection

Bob looking at the lake from the other campground

This formation looked like a mostly buried mammoth dinosaur

I'm looking forward to getting to work with the birds and doing my other jobs there. And I'm probably going to get involved in drying food, since I have to drive about 120 miles for groceries.

This blog will come out while I'm traveling back to Texas to visit friends and family, get several paddling fixes and a little gardening fix.(All are events are canceled here and I won't even get to say goodbye in person to most of my co-workers.)  I'm planning to play a day at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, in the Texas panhandle,  so that will be the subject of one of my next blogs.