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