Monday, February 27, 2006

Parker National Wildlife Refuge

February 11, we went out to Parker National Wildlife Refuge. Drove clear out to the end of the road at parking lot seven. All along our route we find sand dunes and tall Fragmities Grass. There is a stark bareness to this winter landscape. Much of the beauty is in the patterns of the ice and where wind has blown over the dunes. One of the things we discovered at the very end of the road that we think worth remembering is the public outhouse. It is always important for serious birders to make note of these valued landmarks.

We walked on crusted sand out to the ocean but it was cold, very cold, with a lot of wind… well everything considered, you could even say it was very, very cold.

Birding couldn’t qualify as good today. Mallards, Rock Doves, Crows, Canada Geese, Swan, Mocking Bird, Greater Black-backed Gull, Red-tailed Hawk, Robin.I followed C out to the beach where hopefully we got a couple of good pictures but I got so cold that all I wanted to do was get back into the car. One of my fingers and my right thumb still hurt. CM didn’t come down and I thought it was because he was taking photos but when we got back to him, we discovered his heel was hurting so severely that he couldn’t walk on it. He did manage to hobble back to the car and with visible relief clambered in and got the pressure off his foot.

We talked to a few fellow birders who mentioned there was a snowy owl out in a field not far from parking lot four. On the return trip we saw a group of people staring out into what appeared to be a field filled with not much beyond scraggly grasses. We stopped and discovered that they had found the snowy owl. They let us look through the scope; the Snowy was sitting atop a Canada Goose, resting quite comfortably on his feather luncheon pillow while munching away at his leisure. C and I had wonderful views through the scope. We called to CM and he hobbled back to take a look. Our view of the Snowy Own really made our day! Although we could see the bird through our binoculars once we knew where he was, we would never have found him without the benefit of the scope.

The evening light was lovely; lots of warm color against indigo tints of sky and cloud. There is a lovely silvery afterglow. Pale indigo clouds seem backlit and glow against the darker indigo sky. Low on the horizon rose tones add a faint touch of color and provide a delicate background for the silhouetted hills and trees. By the time we started back to our rooms it was very dark. There is a lot of traffic on the surface roads. They weave in and out like they were dodging double parked cars in New York City, although there are no parked cars anywhere in their vicinity. I don’t find the exit or on ramps to be either well marked or well light which makes it a bit uncomfortable getting off and on the freeway.


Blogger tess said...

Your excursion sounds--and look!--wonderful. Lovely pictures indeed. Comming to your site is the next best thing to going outside!

12:30 PM  
Blogger tess said...

I don't seeme to be able to get through one comment without a boo boo. "looks" :)

12:30 PM  
Blogger HoBess said...

As always, your images (both through words and pictures) are just so soothing. So glad you got a glimpse of the owl!

2:09 PM  
Blogger Gwyn said...

Sounds like a cold but lovely day. I am laughing at the image of the Snowy sitting atop the Canada Goose. That's something I'd loved to have seen!

The crows in my neighborhood are hauling nesting material to a tree across the way this morning. It will be warmer soon!

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

snowies have the most captivating beautiful golden eyes- I'm glad you were able to view them via a scope..
beautiful photos and treasured memories despite the cold- sounds like a day well spent :)

1:06 PM  
Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

Beautiful photos and a lovely, albeit very cold day. I'm hoping someday to see a Snowy. Every reading of someone's sighting is more reason for me to hope. The sunset perfectly caps the fine journey.

11:02 AM  

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