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Time with friends

Sunday, 24 November 2013

There was a respite from the rain today, but the temps stayed in the low 40’s with a stiff north wind blowing all day.  This morning I was waiting for some friends to arrive.  I had never met these friends in person, but never the less, I was happy to welcome them to the refuge.

_MG_9678Some of you may recognize Catherine and Jo Beth from the Living the Dream blog.  They’re headed to San Antonio for a family gathering for Thanksgiving, so we had a chance to meet on their journey there.  Many of you know how it goes with meeting up with fellow RVers and bloggers.  Good times!  Check out their blog for their version of the day.

After Emma, and their Grace had a chance to meet up, we piled into their truck for a refuge tour.  Not the best of days for visiting, and Jim, the volunteer at the VIS, reported that folks hadn’t been seeing much on the auto tour today.  We took a drive around Shoveler Pond anyway, and I think we saw lots of things.

Despite the cold temps, we even saw a couple of alligators.  With the brisk wind, many of the birds that would normally fly off at our approach stayed put in their secluded locations.  There was a big flock of about 1200 snow geese in one of the moist soil units as we made our way to Shoveler Pond, and we saw lots of whistling ducks of both species, as well as most all of the herons and other ducks that call this place home for the winter.

Of course I always bring my cameras with me, but when I’m showing folks around it’s more important to me that they get to see things and use their cameras.  So, I don’t have many pics from today’s excursion.

Bird wise, for me, today’s highlight was observing a feeding frenzy that I’d never seen before.  As we were on the last segment of the auto tour, a good sized group of Neotropic Cormorants discovered a large school of small fish in the water.  They were all diving underwater like crazy, and fighting over the fish that were caught.  Then some egrets came in to try to steal the fish away out of their mouths.  What a hoot!  I was on the wrong side of the vehicle for any pictures, so I just enjoyed the moment.

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After leaving the refuge, we headed back along FM 1985.  This road is especially good for viewing red-tailed hawks and kestrels.  My only other picture from the day is this one of the Krider’s subspecies of red-tailed hawk.  This very pale subspecies nests in the northern plains of the continent.  You can see how fluffed up it is to combat the cold windy conditions today.  There is usually one of these birds along this road each winter.

The whole time we were touring around, Grace was sound asleep in the back seat.  What a nice calm dog she is.  A big contrast from my wild Emma who was back in the rig.  After being treated to a tasty lunch at a place in Winnie, where they could have turned the heat up a bit, I bid farewell to Catherine and Jo Beth.  I hope the weather warms for them a bit for their time in San Antonio along the River Walk.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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