My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Happenings on the Refuge

This is my third visit to Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge so much of what I am seeing and doing is old hat. We are also down to only three staff so everyone is stretched thin.   I was the second volunteer to arrive and took over the cleaning and inventorying of the volunteer and tech quarters. I also took over the bluebird survey until another volunteer got here.  Another job was detailing  a few of our vehicles. And the best thing that happened is that my boss is letting me survey our bees. We are going to send them in to the Fish and Wildlife Bee Center for identification, so we won't know what bees we have for several years.

Other jobs I'll be doing is helping to spray invasive weeds.  Got to get in shape for that one as it requires lots of walking with a backpack sprayer.

So here are some scenes I've found while driving around the refuge.

Bombus huntii


Shambo Pond - I take a picture almost every time I drive by in the early morning or late evening

Early morning mist at Shambo Pond

View of my living area - I have a trailer behind the right front building - a bunkhouse 

Driving back from Lower Lake is beautiful

Elk seen just past dawn at a great distance

Pronghorn antelope are the easiest animals to find

I'm forced to drive over to Widgeon Pond every two weeks to survey bees

The last cup of 24 set out full of soapy water to drown bees 

It's a job, I tell you - gotta keep track of our three eagle pairs. 

Another one of my favorite spring views at Red Rock Lakes NWR

On my first bee survey, as I was driving back from picking up my bee cups, I found a mother moose wth a baby still extremely tottery on its feet.  I had my camera but had been charging my battery in the office and drove off without it. So I can't share it with you.  But I had gone to check the outhouses at Upper Lake Campground and found a couple with a low tire. I had them follow me to the office, but stopped at Shambo Pond so they could enjoy the Shambo trumpeter swan pair. Then we saw the two year old moose twins. I was only able to get this shot of one of them.

We now have two volunteer couples and, this week,  will get some guys from Denver that are doing some mapping of Upper Lake. One of the ladies that ride the valley and check on the cattle will also be staying with us. And June 6, the University students and professors will arrive for the summer courses they offer here. Our little village will increase at least ten fold over the winter count.