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Sunset at Skillern

Saturday, 17 December 2011

One of the departing gifts that volunteers receive at Anahuac NWR is a $15 gift certificate that is good at the Friend’s of Anahuac Nature Store.  Since these certificates were burning holes in the pockets of Barbara, James, and myself, we headed off this afternoon to cash them in at the new Visitor’s Center.  I also had to pick up the salinity test equipment that had accidentally been off loaded out of the Suburban when we moved all of the environmental education equipment the other day. 

After that extravagant shopping spree, we all headed out to do the salinity testing for the week.  We only got two sites done when we had to return to the rigs.  The back roads had turned to gumbo with the rain from the other day, and we had a phone call that required us to return.  After taking care of some business and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed over to the Skillern Tract about an hour before sunset.

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What we found as we entered the tract was the mother lode of snow geese settling in for the night in the moist soil units.  They were so intent on honking away and chatting with their neighbors that we didn’t spook them at all as we drove the half mile road to the parking area. 

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After admiring all the geese, ibis, and Northern shovelers, we parked to take the trail along the bayou.  The wind had calmed so the bayou was very calm.  This pic reminds me of something that would be used for a jigsaw puzzle.  There were such great reflections on the bayou.

As the sun slipped down to the horizon, we were in for a couple of real treats as we made our way down the trail.

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An anhinga, perched on a tree branch, was about to give us a real show worth watching.  I’m pleased to be able to show you its antics.

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Do you suppose it knew it had a rapt audience?  After that great display, it flew off into the sunset.  We continued down the path to the overlook with a Wilson’s warbler, a ruby-crowned kinglet, and numerous sparrows flitting around in front of us.

On our way back from the overlook, there was one more treat in store for us.

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A peregrine falcon swooped into one of the trees.  I was so excited that I forgot to adjust my shutter speed as I crept closer and closer to this magnificent bird so all of my shots were woefully underexposed for the low light available.  Picasa can help, but it can’t do miracles.  Crying face

All in all, it was a great outing with my new friends who will be leaving on Monday.  I can’t wait to see James’ photos.  I’m betting he’ll have better photos of the falcon.

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                                                                             Good night, all!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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