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First day on the job

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Spent the morning shadowing the Environmental Education Programs for about 100 kindergartners from Detroit Lakes.  I could do most of the education stops except the one where the volunteer had the kids singing along with puppets.  Have I mentioned that I, at one time, was a high school math teacher?  Singing ditties about little baby bluebirds with five and six year olds is really not my forte.  Disappointed smile  I can do mimicking frog and toad sounds with a group, but I sure hope I don’t get the puppet assignment!

I was snapping off pictures as I went to each station for tonight’s post, but noticed, eventually, that the camera kept mentioning there was ‘no card’.  I remember forgetting a couple of years ago to put the card back into the camera when I was in Yellowstone, but I was sure I had done that last night after downloading pics of my site here.  I checked, and sure enough, the card was in the camera, but it just wasn’t being recognized.  Ugh!  I hoofed my way back to my car to install a back-up card, but by that time most of the activities were over with.

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So, as I headed back to the rig for lunch, I decided to take a trip down the Blackbird Wildlife Drive.  I need to familiarize myself with what is available for visitors.  This is a pretty typical view of the north woods lakes that are encompassed by this wildlife refuge.

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Around one of the bends in the road, I encountered a Canada goose.  I think she may have been sitting on a nest of eggs.  While the geese are leading their young around already not too far south of here, it’s only been about a week and a half since the ice has left these northern lakes.

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I found a pair of trumpeter swans feeding in one of the wetlands along the drive.  It was so nice to see some of these birds after hearing their trumpeting yesterday after my arrival.

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After lunch I met with Janice, the volunteer coordinator, to get the necessary paperwork out of the way for my volunteering here.  As we were finishing up, Neil, the refuge manager, came in and asked if I would like to go with him to see the energy retrofit that was in progress at the Visitors Center and refuge headquarters.  I jumped at the chance.  This building is closed right now until the fall to make it more energy efficient.  It was an interesting tour.

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While we were driving there, I mentioned that I was interested in taking up my long dormant interest in fishing while I was here.  That peaked his interest, so after walking through all the construction, he took me on a tour of the refuge.  It’s not often a refuge manager will take the time to drive a volunteer around.  I learned a lot, and he showed me about four good places for fishing from the shore.  I don’t really care for ocean fish, but I love fresh water fish.  I’ve got a nicely stocked little tackle box, but it’s on my list tomorrow to buy a license and fishing pole.  Crappies, perch, sunnies, and maybe walleyes look out!  I’m on the hunt.

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Late this afternoon, after I got back to the rig, I set up the Hard Rock Bird Café in my front yard.  I couldn’t believe it when within five minutes, I had purple finches, American goldfinches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and Harris’ sparrows visiting the seed feeders!  After about a half an hour, ruby-throated hummingbirds also began visiting their feeder.   It usually takes a week or more for birds to show up at a new feeder.  I was amazed and happy.  Guess I’d better add bird seed to my shopping list for tomorrow along with the fishing pole.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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