Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Mexico’s Wet? Lands.

On our first ever tour of our refuge’s wetlands we rounded a corner to be greeted by

                                               this bad boy!

              Here’s a pretty flower to calm our reptile weary readers.

                               And here is a close-up for our reptile intrigued readers.

              Hey, do you see the cool bug hidden in this pretty flower?

Seriously, this Western Diamondback Rattler let us get close.  We’re sharing the love.

                      Pretty flower believed to be Indian Blanket.

             O.K.  We’re done with the snake close-ups for this post.

                 But we could never be done with the flower close-ups!

We mentioned our wetlands and we should be showing your pictures of those.  Here’s the thing though.  We both hail from the southeast where wetlands are well, wet.  All of the time they are wet.  It appears that is not the case in the southwest.  Here refuges and other waterfowl managed lands actually have to fill their wetlands with water each year in anticipation of the great migration.  So... we’ll save pictures of that for later because on this tour the majority of our wetlands were bone dry.

                        Instead we’ll share this pretty view from our wetlands area.

Nicole was walking in the wash the other day when she swore the sand moved!  It took a long pause and some really intense scanning to reveal this...

the tiniest grasshopper we’ve ever seen.  In case you haven’t realized those shiny things it is standing on are magnified grains of sand.  This little one was only about 20 grains long!
Pretty sure it is a Snow’s Desert Grasshopper but still investigating.

Speaking of small critters.  While working under the van the other day Nicole spotted this tiny crawler on the inside of the wheel.

For size reference you’ve got the letters on the tire, the sprues (rubber whiskers left over from the molding process) and a balancing weight.  Pretty sure all of that silky stuff is the result of the critter whom we still have not identified.

  With this close-up can Nicole finally claim victory with the Trailing Windmill?

                      Yes?  No?  Maybe... she can do better.  We’ll see.

Nicole likes to walk along the wash behind our trailer.  Although she doesn’t often see active wildlife, she is beginning to realize that it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  Most likely they are seeing her just fine.

               This crop from the above photo illustrates that point.

                                      We’re not so sure what is more amazing...
                           This sunrise or the fact that we are up in time to see it!

Ha. Ha.  Truth be told these days we are up with the sun and at the end of some of them wiped out enough that we are ready to go down with it too.  Hard to believe we have already been volunteering here at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge for a whole month.  What a great month full of new experiences it has been.  We are learning so much and looking forward to what the next three and a half months have to offer.

         Sometimes all of those branches are too much for our camera.

                                   This time they were not.

We really have been working here at the refuge.  Stay tuned and we’ll take you out with us to experience the refuge and some of what we’ve been doing for them.