“And it begins with “T” and rhymes with “P”, and that stands for Pool!” Do you remember that song from “The Music Man”? In the movie, Robert Preston came to town to save River City from evil by organizing a band with “76 Trombones!”. Well, we’ve got trouble here in the Volunteer Village, but there is no band and I couldn’t find anyway of rhyming “T” with “W”… which stands for Woodchuck. I suppose I could get out my fipple flute and play it, but I don’t think it would help.
Woodchucks (also known as groundhogs or whistle pigs) are members of the squirrel family, and build extensive tunnels to hibernate in and give birth. This particular female had a litter under the bunkhouse several weeks ago. Now, she and her young are out and about the Volunteer Village.
So, what’s the trouble with that you ask? Well, two things. First, since moving out of the den, the little family has decided to take up residence each evening underneath and inside Steve’s rig. Actually, they’ve found someway to get under his bed down below, and manage to wake him up in the middle of the night with their jumbling around. RVers often have to deal with mice, stink bugs, wasps, pack rats, and those awful Chinese beetles, but woodchucks? First time I’ve heard of that!
Secondly, they drive Emma absolutely nuts! Momma and kids munch away on the clover just feet away from the limit of Emma’s tie out. Bark, bark, bark, bark! Ugh! At least I don’t have them living in my rig.
Just this morning, Rick’s blog taught me how to add these “speech bubbles” to my photos using Picasa after I had asked him how he did it in a recent post about his new grandson, Mason. So, I had to try it out. Long time readers may recall that now and then I slip into an anthropomorphic bent with my wildlife pics. To me, sometimes these photos just beg for a subtitle, and now I can use these bubbles instead. I’ll try not to get too carried away with this.
Later in the morning, I picked up Rachel and we headed out to scout the route for the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS); not to be confused with the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas that I’ve been working on. The BBS is a national survey that I’ll be giving you the details on later this week when I do it. It’s a very regimented survey that is 25 miles long on a specific route that is used year after year. I did 13 years of the BBS in southern Minnesota before I retired and hit the road.
The specified route on the refuge uses some of the same roads I use for the atlas work. I wanted to scout the route today, after the big storm on Thursday, to make sure all roads were passable. We drove past the big beaver lodge on the Egg Lake Trail once again.
Only today, we actually got to see some beavers. There were three of them that we spotted.
As we approached the levy, all three of them smacked their tails on the water and dove down. I’ve read about that tail smacking alarm, but never witnessed it before. Cool beans! Another first for me.
It was a good thing we checked the route today, as two trees had been blown down across our path. One was old and rotted, so it was easy to remove in chunks. The other posed a bit of a challenge, but young Rachel became Wonder Woman, and gruntingly hauled it out of the way. I also learned how to use four wheel drive on the truck to power ourselves through a couple of very wet and mucky sections where we were fishtailing around in the muck and mire.
We saw quite a bit more on our scouting drive, but I’ll save that for the next post. The above photo is just a preview. Happy summer solstice (a day late) to you all!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy