Date: April 1, 2015
Weather: partly sunny
Temperature: start 69º
Wildlife count: Gator, Red-eared Slider, Feral Hogs
Year List: 218
Birds: Red-winged Blackbirds, Mottled Duck, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbirds
We began the morning early with a meeting at the Winnie Depot – a safety meeting on lightning, taught by refuge staff. We learned that there are more lightning strikes on the Gulf coast of Texas than most every state except Florida – interesting! Folks here are very conscious of lightning safety, and most everyone has a story to tell of someone who was struck by lightning. That topic was followed by refuge reports by the refuge managers. The entire meeting was over by 8:45, so we headed out to the VIS to open that a little late.
While there, we began to work on some inventory, when a few guests arrived. Of course we stopped to talk with them and some were still talking when it was past time for us to leave for the volunteer appreciation dinner, which was back in Winnie. We were a little late, expecting folks to still be milling around talking, but everyone was eating when we arrived, so we got our meals and ate quickly. The volunteers who were leaving were recognized for their hours and given a few gifts – it was a good gathering.
As soon as it was over, we headed back to the VIS again – about 25 minutes away. We continued working on inventory and had a few more guests for the afternoon. Dinner was beef enchiladas and buttered peas. Afterwards, we went over to the Skillern Tract to enjoy the evening and see a few birds. We enjoyed the time there, with a lovely breeze and the gathering dusk. John spotted two sows and their brood of feral hogs – a major problem in Texas. They are extremely destructive, with lots of attempts to eradicate them. This herd had at least 20 animals. We got back to the car just as a quick shower went over.
The campfire was blazing when we arrived, so we enjoyed a little time with the volunteers around the fire and then came in for the evening. It has been a good day.