Monday, June 3, 2013

Mother Nature vs. Human Nature

When I went in to work this morning, I was given a rather exciting, to me, assignment.  One of the biologists was going to blast out a beaver dam that was threatening to flood a major county thoroughfare.  I was asked to photograph not only the explosion of the dam, but document how other volunteers would close the road while the blasting took place.  In stepped Mother Nature.  Seems with all of the recent rains, half of the dam was washed away, so no blasting was necessary. So that assignment was cancelled.

IMG_3127That left Student Conservation Association intern (SCA) Rachel and I with an assignment to spiff up the Woodpecker walking trail that leads to an overlook on Blackbird Lake.  Thankfully, she is young and strong enough to operate the weed-whacker while I cleaned the interpretive signs along the trail.  We both had all the required safety equipment with us…hard hats, safety goggles, and ear plugs.  We ended up making three different trips to this short trail today trying to fix a problem with the signs.  We weren’t totally successful, so it will take another trip.


We had several other stops around the refuge to clean up viewpoints and trim vegetation.  At the Balsam Lake Kiosk we were able to document the nesting site of a pair of common loons.  The biologist will be interested in that.  We enjoyed watching mama sitting on the nest site while dad loon brought her dried vegetation to build up the nest.  It was quite a ways away, so we did most of our viewing through the scope at the kiosk. 

IMG_3139 IMG_3140

After lunch, we were off to tackle the job of dealing with the results of Human Nature along several refuge roads.  AKA: litter pickup.  Skies had once again clouded over which posed a problem with picture taking.  The beauty of litter pickup is that we can stop whenever we want to observe wildlife we encounter along the way like this little song sparrow.


Surprisingly, we found an Eastern wood-pewee willing to pose for a few seconds along one of the lakes.  They’re usually high in the trees along forest borders.  Most of our time was taken up with plucking beer cans from the roadside, but we progressed to wine cooler boxes and then on to hard liquor bottles.  Seems a lot of folks like to drink and drive the back roads, and toss their beverage containers out the car window.  I remember doing that once in my youth, but only once.  Rather disgusting if you ask me.


We found this large animal bone stuck in a tree surrounded by all sorts of cans and such.  I’m thinking people go down the road and try to hit the bone with their rubbish.  Get a life, people!

There was a massive trash pick-up day on the refuge just before I arrived, but that didn’t stop us from gathering enough trash to fill three big black bags.  It’s so sad that people disrespect our wild places.  I’d like to pop all those folks in the nose.


                                               I think I’ll mentally fly away instead…. THE END!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy