Wow! Four months flew by and we are departing from here in fifteen hours or there about. So, to avoid time completely getting away from us we will wrap up our volunteer experience at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge with a select few of our remaining photos.
On Alex’s last day visiting we decided to walk the Mesa Loop Trail. Isn’t it awesome that Alex walks (sits) trails like us? Alright, so we sat on every bench, we also did the whole 3.8 miles and we’re pretty sure we all went to bed around 8 p.m. that night, too! Sheesh, what were we thinking after a week of touring around.
We realized after Alex left that we didn’t really take any photos together. Well, Alex and Nicole took one selfie where (as Alex puts it) Nicole looks totally “cray cray”. So, in the interest of sparing you that experience, Nicole stitched together two separate photos to make this one.
How about now? See that dark spot in the upper right corner? Follow it at a bit of a diagonal toward the middle of the photo. So, we were umm... sitting on a bench (we already told you we sat on all of them!) when we looked all the way across the refuge toward the Pinos and saw what looked like a black tornado. It would form and fall to the ground and then sweep upward all at once. It was crazy to watch. We were super far away with no real zoom so we did the best we could.
What it wound up being was thousands or tens of thousands of Red Winged Blackbirds and / or Starlings. Apparently this display is a winter phenomenon that happens with Grackles and other similar birds, as well. We’d never seen anything like it. Super cool to watch.
After Alex left for home we returned to our regularly scheduled program of three days on and four days off. As we were out and about there seemed to be more birds around.
We’d see the same ones quite often as we made trips out to the Wetlands Area to finish up the fence by putting reflective tape on it and to attempt to repair the Langemann Gate (we did not get to finish this project before we left).
One of our last projects was to head out to the East Side to take apart some windmills and haul the parts to the metal recycling bin.
While cruising the east side on one of those windmill days we happened to catch
We, on the other hand, had no trouble making up our minds that the winds, bitter cold and threatening rain were not conducive to windmill deconstruction. So, instead we headed out for new parts of the refuge to turn on three of the wells that had been off for the winter.
Here’s a few more shots from parts of the refuge we hadn’t been to before.
One thing we don’t wonder about however is whether we had a great time volunteering here at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. We most certainly did! It is time though to move on down the road to new locations and new experiences. So, we’ll wrap this up and get to packing the van and preparing for our departure tomorrow.