Date: March 18, 2015
Weather: foggy am; sun pm; then cloudy
Temperature: start 64º
Wildlife count: Gator, Yellow Swallowtail
Year List: 197; Life List: 492
Birds: Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird, Mourning Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, American Kestrel, Brown Cowbird, Boat-tailed Grackle, Northern Mockingbird, Black Rail (heard), Clapper Rail (heard), King Rail, Mottled Duck, American Coot, Common Gallinule, Northern Shoveler, Swamp Sparrow, Killdeer, Marsh Wren, Savannah Sparrow, Laughing Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Lesser Scaup, Green-winged & Blue-winged Teal, White-tailed Kite, White-crowned Sparrow, Common Grackle, Vermillion Flycatcher, Northern Cardinal, European Starling, Gadwall, White & White-faced Ibis, Northern Harrier, Cinnamon Teal,
We had planned up be up early and out at the VIS for sunrise, but the morning sky was socked in with dense fog. So, we went birding instead! Walking out on the Hackberry pond overlook, we heard our first Black Rail, and lifer! We watched for a long time in the rain, but it did not come out into the open. However, hearing counts with secretive birds like rails. Now at least we know where to find several varieties, and we WILL go back to that place many times.
It was time to head back to open the VIS for the day. We only had 30 people, but we had time to set up the 3 large tubs of t-shirts that we had brought from yesterday and work a little on merchandising.
I visited with our fellow volunteer, Lynn, to see the progress of her amazing plant project – she is growing hundreds of forbs from seed, and caring for each seedling. Evidently, a rat got into her milkweed plants last night and destroyed a good number of them, which is really sad, as the milkweed plants are specifically being grown to aid the Monarch butterflies, which are experiencing a huge decline in population.
When the sun arrived in the afternoon, there were more visitors, and several really wanted to talk, so we spent a LOT of time listening – our ears are sore.
Dinner was fresh green salad with chicken and I baked brownies for dessert. Again, we are hearing the mournful wail of coyotes – have heard them every night for the past week – sometimes they seem really close to our RV’s.