April 28, 2013

4/15/13 - Hagerman NWR

We've been to a couple of other wildlife refuges and saw lots of birds and other critters.  Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is on Lake Texoma (on the Texas side.)  We didn't see many birds at all--it's after the winter migratory birds went home, and before the spring migration arrived.  Not sure where that puts us.

We went with Linda and Ray, some friends from Pennsylvania that we met in Arizona, and were camping with again in Texas.  (So....if it's such a small world, then why are we spending so much on fuel???) 

First stop was the Visitors Center.  This is a really cool sculpture of birds next to the building.  Some of them are silhouetted and some are cutout. 
We walked the Crawfish Pond loop of the Harris Creek Trail.  We saw some cardinals in the trees and a tall wading bird that was probably a heron, but he didn't get close enough for us to exchange name cards. 
I've never seen a wildlife refuge right smack in the middle of an oil field before!  There are oil pumps all over the place.  They build dikes out into the lake and plop an oil pump on it.  (Seems to me like "National Wildlife Refuge" and "oil wells" is an oxymoron.  On the other hand (cynical hypocritical Pollyanna that I am), I think that gas should be cheaper in oil-producing states...and it isn't!)
The volunteer told me that the birds don't care about the pumps, and that they're used to trucks.  Every time we got close enough in John's truck to see shorebirds, they'd scoot just far enough away that we couldn't figure out what they were, even with the binoculars.  There were mallards and coots, and George was able to figure out that there were Northern Shovelers, but they were too far away for me to get good pictures. 
We took a little jaunt around Crow Hill Trail, looking for the observation tower.  Couldn't find it.  There were benches, but no tower.  (Turns out it was condemned and OSHA wouldn't let them rebuild unless it was wheelchair accessible, which costs about a gazillion dollars more than just steps up the tower.)  So there's no tower, but we had several discussions about where we'd missed it, and should we go back to see.
We did see one heron stalking in the grass.  Maybe there's a bird refuge around here someplace???

Go here to see a few more pictures of the refuge:  Hagerman NWR

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