Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturday -- sunny refuge

Saturday was one of those days. The original plan was to meet my cousin for breakfast and go to the plover warden orientation at the refuge.  Then my condo association decreed a mandatory smoke alarm inspection for which somebody had to be home or else at the exact same time as the plover warden orientation. Went to plan B -- abandon trip to Plum Island and stay home waiting for fire inspector guy. Guy showed up early.
Passed fire inspection. Realized if I high-tailed it out of here I would only be 10 min. late for the plover warden orientation and maybe could do lunch after -- messaged cousin with plan C and headed for the refuge headquarters.

So, like, I've been doing the plover warden thing for 16 years and have been known to describe the nesting cycle of the piping plover in my sleep (just ask my beloved) and the orientation is optional for returning volunteers. However, I wanted to make sure I met Ranger Poole and make sure I'm up to speed on the changes he's considering implementing regarding the volunteers.  Besides that, I really needed just to see pictures of cute plover chicks to jolt me out of the winter doldrums. Luckily, Jean had lots of new slides with plenty of cute chicks.
Salt Pannes still frozen -- are those the same geese as yesterday?
 I introduced myself to Ranger Poole, but didn't hear anything about what changes are happening. We chatted a little bit about the refuge's Facebook presence, which only has 89 "likes." There's gotta be a way to get more leverage with social media on behalf of the wildlife of Parker River NWR. Things have come a long way since my primitive hand-coded (ye olde timey HTML of the early 90s) journal was the refuge's only web presence.

But I digress. So anyway, I headed over to Mad Martha's for lunch/breakfast/brunch. Unable to connect with cousin despite "technology", I still had a delicious meal and as a bonus had a fun experience talking with a little boy who has the same iPod Touch that I do. He was about 7 and he was the one who initiated the conversation. He wanted to know how many apps I have. I showed him iBird Plus since I seemed to be in educator mode. He and his sister each had a state bird to research for some project. His was Illinois, northern cardinal. Hers was Delaware, blue hen chicken. I showed him northern cardinal. Couldn't figure out what blue hen chicken was and there was no wifi so I couldn't google it. It's a domestic bird, so not in iBird Plus. They wanted a Skype demo, but I explained I couldn't do it without wifi. The boy was jealous that I have so many apps when he only has four. His favorite is Angry Birds, of course. I have the only iPod Touch in the universe that does not have Angry Birds on it :-)

Then it was over to the refuge to take a few pictures of what it looks like when it's not raining. I swear those exact same Canada geese were on the exact same spot on the ice. I forgot to reset the ISO setting on the camera from Friday, so the photos are a little overexposed looking, but they still pretty much convey how things look on an ordinary March day (as opposed to one of those extraordinary spring days when the sky is deep blue and everything is crisp -- melting ice is by definition not crisp).

Canada geese on the ice
 There are even more puddles everywhere and the trip down the dirt road to the Sandy Point parking lot covered my car with mud. Ah spring.

Melting snow
Berries and puddle
There is a little bit more open water along the edges of the Salt Pannes too.

A little more open water
I did not venture onto the beach. I didn't see any of the plastic discs from Hooksett. (I know regular readers are expecting a "stuff in the Merrimack" entry about the Hooksett fiasco. Maybe I'll do one soon. Meanwhile, diplomatic relations between Massachusetts and New Hampshire remain tense.)

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