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What a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Yesterday I found out that a group of folks from Okefenokee NWR would be spending a few days visiting this refuge and surrounding area, and would be staying in the bunk house on the refuge.  Doug, the volunteer coordinator, asked if I thought I would know any of them.  I said I didn’t think so since most of my volunteering has been done west of Mississippi, and Okefenokee is in Georgia.

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Imagine my surprise when three of the eight folks turned out to be people I’ve volunteered with before.  Four years ago, I volunteered with Linda and Jay (on the left) at Anahuac NWR, and last year Katie and her husband, Bruce, volunteered here with me at Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR.  That was such a wonderful surprise.  It was like old home week.  I’ve been interested in volunteering at Okefenokee, so I was able to get the low down on that refuge, and meet the volunteer coordinator.  I’m hoping to corral the volunteer coordinator tomorrow to see if I might be able to go there next winter.  Cool beans!

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Doug and I got all of them into the van and headed out in the drizzle to see if we could find some Mississippi Sandhill Cranes for them to see.  We were very lucky today, and actually saw 26 of these critically endangered species.  There are only around 120 of these birds left on earth, so we saw a large percentage of them.  I’m sure many of you have heard of the plight of the Whooping Cranes, but there are close to 400 of those birds around.  In comparison, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane is even more rare.

66 MS Sandhill Crane NWR 2012

It was an all day tour that included driving and hiking.  We were able to show them the essence of this refuge, and since they were all volunteers and staff from another refuge, they were most receptive to the day.  It’s great to take folks of similar interests out and just enjoy nature.

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See that little head peeking above that enormous nest?  That’s an adult bald eagle sitting on eggs.  That nest is built in the top of a loblolly pine tree on the refuge.  In another month or so, the eggs will hatch.  I’ll be keeping a watch on this nest to report its progress to you.

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Despite the threatening weather, it was a great day to be out and about.  Tonight I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to persuade Okefenokee NWR that I would be an asset to their refuge next winter.  I don't know smile  I’ll be heading out with them tomorrow to help with their visit to our sister refuge, Grand Bay NWR. 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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