Bob responded, shaking the cornmeal ou+ of his beard. We soon learned +o our amazement that these incredibal optimists had flown Into Tulsa from New York just to see
the birds, and had to leave at noon the next day!
We decided to consult the Refuge manager about our prospects for the next day. Locating him at home by telephone, we learned that he had sometimes seen the birds
during their dawn flight across a certain stretch of lake shore. He also suggested
an area of the lake shore where they might be observed bathing around 10 a.m. Then,
if our best efforts failed, he said that he would come out on Saturday afternoon
and take us back In+o fhe closed area where we had failed to see the B.G.'s on our
one try there on Friday. -.,.-. - i?ai-A
Dawn found us on the lake shore, squinting through the murky light, haze, and cold
wind at thousands of geese flying over us toward the closed Pennington Unit. We
then shifted our attention to one of the open feeding areas where we had spent a
great deal of time on Friday. My rapidly disintegrating tripod added to our frus
trations. The folks from New York looked cheerful but concerned. Suddenly a pickup appeared, bearing Refuge manager Jim Harmon, half a day early! Because of the
worsening weather, he had postponed a hunting trip to take us into the Pennington
Unit before It started raining.
Richard, Bob, and 1 jumped into his vehicle and we headed for Pennington. We
thanked him profusely all the way for his southwestern hospitality and incredible
courtesy to us birders, and he was obviously pleased that we were enjoying his
We eased slowly into Pennington and toward the feeding areas — acres of geese which
would disappear for the day at an untimely sneeze or the lowering of a creaky car
window. Jim set up his window-mount telescope while the rest of us jockeyed into
viewing positions with our binoculars. Within a couple of minutes. Bob had spotted
one Barnacle Goose. With his direction, Richard and I got quick looks at the white
face and black eyellne that had been eluding us. After another 20 minutes, they
reappeared, and Jim got them In his scope. We all exercised our gymnastics abilities and twisted around Jim to get great looks at the black chest and banded gray
backs of an adult and one Immature Barnacle Goose. What a reward for our struggle!
By now one carload of birders had arrived from the other part of the Refuge and wer
watting for us outside the Pennington Unit gate. I took their car and went back
for the New York folks, while Jim took them In for a look. Finally, after much
cautious belly crawling, everyone made It into the front seat for a look through
After a late victory breakfast, we delivered Richard back to the airport. We were
very glad that he had called Alice the night before and extended his airplane ren+al
for another day. AM nine of us who were treated to a fabulous lifer were grateful
to Jim Harman for giving up his Saturday morning to give us his Invaluable assistance. On the way home I realized that I,had left my beloved down coveralls In his
car, and within days they arrived in the mall, unsolicited!
Chasing wild and rare birds can often be frustrating and unproductive, but when the
attempt ends like this one. It makes all the others worthwhile!
PUCES TO GO
With wintering birds still with us, the familiar routes we've taken for the past
several months are still good, W. Harris County (another Green-tailed Towhee was
found out there Feb. 3, which makes four seen In the past two months. This one was
on Longenbaugh Road, about fifty yards west of Katy-Hockley Road....hedgrows on
both sides of the road) has been and still Is the place +o go. Numerous Grasshopper
sparrows were seen on Sharpe road this past weekend, across the road from +he glider
Recently we asked for reports on Sheldon Reservoir, and Bill and Jean Harwell went
out there reconnoIterIng, and had this to say: "Some things are out there, the
water is up, and maybe they're coming back. But the condition of the place just
makes you sick...Its so run-down and beat-up, and looks like NO one is there to
supervise it or care for it. That was such a great place in years past! Unfortunately, there is much building activity around the periphery...housing, sports fields,
Industrial buildings, etc." Check the CH for Sheldon sightings by them and others.
In just a few weeks it will be time to start checking migrant traps for early spring
migrants....salt cedars along beaches, High Is., Freeport Mun. Park, Galveston Is.
St. Park, are just a few to consider.