Monday, July 9, 2012

Field Notes 7.7.12

Earth Team Deployed.

After starting our SLV Birdwatching Odyssey we have come in contact with others with this shared interest.  One acquaintance asked us to become members of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Earth Team. The Earth Team is a project that recruits volunteer birdwatchers to do regular bird counts on agricultural land managed under the NRCS wetland reserve program. We have been assigned 140 acres of pasture  and wetlands near the village of Lasauses.
Under clouds and rain we headed down to the area with our niece Christa. We had a little trouble finding  the pasture but some locals recognized  three lost souls, seeing us in a field with a map and  pointing in three different directions. They directed us to some stock pens back up the road.
The field is filled with grass and cattail sloughs. Trees line the road and fences. The  San Luis Hills rise to the west above oxbows of the Rio Grande.
The field  and open water had a nice compliment of red-winged blackbirds. Tree swallows flew overhead or sat in trees with their fledglings.  We also saw violet-green swallows.  An  American goldfinch flew up into the trees and a Wilson’s snipe winnowed above us. Eurasian collared doves crossed the rainy  sky.
It is such a beautiful place and we are thrilled to be part of  this environmental study.
On the way back home we stopped at Pike’s Stockade hoping to see the yellow-billed cuckoo but it remained elusive.  We were elated, however, to see a blue grosbeak and a Lazuli bunting.
Also, you may remember that the last time we were birdwatching near Pike’s Stockade  we found a lost calf and returned it to some nearby cattle.  We were pleased as we drove by the same pasture when one little calf broke from its mother, ran to the fence and looked at our truck.  We know that this is the calf we saved or at least we want to think it so.

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