Saturday, January 29, 2011
My goal is to try and post to my blog daily, but that doesn’t always happen as you can see I’ve missed a couple of days again. Sometimes it’s for lack of material, a short time ago it was because of computer viruses, and this time it was due to human virus. Flu like symptoms have kept me out of commission for a couple of days. Here is a photo taken on my last healthy day, Thursday, of a Costa’s Hummingbird feeding on flowers of a Fremont Thornbush.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Friends from Elkton, Michael and Melissa Garguilo and their dog Jessie, stopped by for a visit on their way home from Texas. Yesterday afternoon we took them on a tour of the park and a bird walk. This morning we got in an early morning hike on some of the trails of Buckskin Mountain State Park before Jeanette and I had to report to work. We will have dinner together tonight and then tomorrow they will be on their way. It’s been great to see them and share a little of what goes on with us in the winter here in Arizona.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I had 9 birders on yesterday’s Bird Walk and we identified a record 27 different species. A brand new one to me was an American Pipit. This is a small sparrow sized bird that is listed as an unusual winter visitor here and nests in the tundra of the north. We also saw, what we assumed from a distance to be a Turkey Vulture, but with a closer look with binoculars proved to be an immature American Bald Eagle. The most astonishing site of the day was a Pied-billed Grebe, like the ones shown in the photo above, swallowing a crayfish. I would not have thought it would be possible for such a small bird to swallow such a large crustacean. My guess would be it was the last thing he ate for the day.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Ken Ash took this photo of Jeanette and me last Friday, and it sort of represents a typical day for us here in our volunteer positions at Buckskin Mountain State Park. On this day I am off to lead a Nature Hike on some of the trails in the park, talking about various trees, shrubs, and cacti found along the trail. I also will talk a little about the history and geology here on the lower Colorado River. Jeanette is working in the Registration Office at the front gate and will be doing her best to keep campers happy by providing them with the perfect camping site, while answering the phone, handling reservations, collecting fees, and at the same time serving as a one person chamber of commerce.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
I took friends Roman Dust and Ken Ash hiking into the Red Mountains today. We had hopes of finding a way to the top, but settled for finding this old mine and scaling a ridge. We spent some fun time figuring out how this equipment worked at this mine site. I also got to show them an unofficial route into the back country that involves climbing through a culvert and a hike up a wide wash. We had a great morning.
Friday, January 21, 2011
On today’s Nature Hike everyone in the group was fit and we were able to maintain a good pace allowing us to take the Abandoned Mines Trail. There are a good number of exploratory holes that were dug many years ago in search of copper here within the boundaries of Buckskin Mountain State Park. I am shown here explaining a little bit about the mines. Photo by Ken Ash
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Meet our friend Ken Ash from Salem, Oregon. There are few people that we have participated in such a variety of events with as Ken. For years we hiked, backpacked, cross-country skied, bicycled, bike toured, and RV camped with Ken not only in the Cascades of Oregon but also in Washington, California, and Arizona. He arrived here at Buckskin Mountain State Park in his RV this afternoon and will be staying for 5 nights. We had him over for a Bar B-Q tonight and I am sure the next few days will be filled with hiking and recalling lots of fun trips from the past.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
After several weeks of cool and windy weather it is warming up here on the Colorado River. Temperatures in the mid 70’s were a little too warm for both birds and birders yesterday afternoon. I had my smallest turnout of birders and birds, only identifying 14 species compared to the 20-24 species of the previous four trips. The favorite bird of the day was a female Vermilion Flycatcher which Bill & Trudy are watching in the lower branches of an acacia tree. With the warmer weather I will be changing the Bird Walks to a morning time of ten o’clock in place of the current one o’clock in the afternoon.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Bev Beam is a follower of Cascade Ramblings. She lives in Sherwood Oregon and has communicated with me several times over the past years by e-mail and with comments to my blog, but I have never seen or talked to her in person. Imagine my surprise when she showed up at my campsite at Buckskin Mountain State Park yesterday! She had been to Lake Havasu for her yearly pilgrimage to Buses By the Bridge, and just wanted to stop by and thank me in person for all the work I do with Cascade Ramblings. I can tell you, it certainly made my day. At 76 years of age, she is a brave soul with a free spirit that travels where she pleases in this VW van with 225,000 miles. Thanks again Bev, you are a real inspiration for me to keep on Rambling.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
This sign bans off-road vehicles from entering the hiking trails in Buckskin Mountain State Park. Yesterday Jeanette helped me replace one that vandals removed this past year. One of the things we have noticed in coming back to this area for several years is the dramatic increase in off-road vehicles. Not only have their numbers increased, but their routes continue to gouge even deeper ruts into the desert. Ruts so deep that the vehicle can barely be seen. Clouds of dust foul the air, and motorized noise is the common sound that has replaced the quiet of the desert. I fear for the environmental changes that have begun. I can’t help but think that future generations will be asking, what were those people thinking, reeking such havoc on the environment.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Good intentions do not necessarily lead to good results. I offer this example. While working in the Information Center here at Buckskin State Park, I have my computer running and use my Verizon MiFi for my Internet connection. Jeanette and I have felt sorry for campers who have stopped by and don’t have any Internet service themselves. We discussed it, and we though it would be a nice service to share our Internet connection. After all, our MiFi can serve five computers at the same time. So, we did it for a day and everything went well, several people used our MiFi to check their e-mail and connect with family back home. That evening when I got home and logged on to my computer, I started have problems with some kind of virus. Thursday morning I took my computer into Lake Havasu City to a computer repair store. Friday I got the report back that the computer had 770 viruses and that they thought it would not be worth the expense to repair, and that I would be better off to replace the computer. There is no way of knowing how I got the viruses, I understand it would be possible but unlikely that it was transferred from an infected computer though our MiFi. To shorten up the story, tonight I am posting this blog on my new Toshiba laptop. I won’t be sharing our Internet connection any more just to be safe. On the other hand I now have a new computer. It has three times the capacity, cost half as much as my old one did 5 years ago, and has all the keys (my old one was missing 3 keys). So, now I ask, is that a bad thing or a good thing?
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The long arm of Jeanette grabbed this photo this morning of us at Interruption Point. Saturdays and Sundays are our days off and with me doing less trail work this year, a hike this morning sounded like a good idea, and it was too. We had bright sunshine and got in a good work out climbing up and out to Interruption Point on the Interruption Point Trail. One little brown dog got in a good work out too and hopefully will be a little easier to live with tonight.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Western Meadowlark is Oregon’s State Bird, so imagine my surprise today to see this striking bird here in Arizona. As is turns out the Western Meadowlark is a year around resident here as well as most all of the Western States. We watched about six of them this afternoon busy picking up bugs on the lawn of Buckskin Mountain State Park.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Jeanette’s sister Patty and her husband Kordell are shown here checking in for the 10:00 Nature Hike that I lead on Fridays here at Buckskin Mountain State Park. They have been visiting here for a couple of days staying at the Blue Water Resort & Casino. Yesterday they played golf at the Emerald Canyon Golf Course, which from their stories we understand it is quite challenging. We finished off the day with a great dinner at Havasu Springs. We enjoyed showing them the area, and its been wonderful to get to spend time with family while at our winter home.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesdays and Wednesdays my job is to hang out at the Information Center from 10:00 to 2:00 and answer any question our campers might have. In quiet moments I step outside to keep an eye on what's going on with the bird life. Yesterday I got a chance to see and photograph for the first time an Ash-throated Flycatcher. Today I figured out that a deck off the back of the Information Center that looks out over the river is a good place to set up the scope and look at ducks and so forth. I think this is going to work out for me.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Today Jeanette started her regular schedule for the season here at Buckskin Mountain State Park. She is shown here displaying some t-shirts in her position of working at the Gift Shop. This is a new experience this year as the Buckskin Center where the Gift Shop is located was closed for remodeling last year. Jeanette will work in the Gift Shop two days each week, and three days in the Registration Office.