By Nancy Miller
I go to the refuge almost every weekend to take pictures, because that is what I like to do. I know there have been many times I have said or thought, “I haven’t seen much today”, and a Saturday a couple of weeks ago was one of those days. So I made my rounds to head home. As I was going up and down the roads, I realized how wrong I was. I may not have seen some of the new species of birds that have arrived at the refuge, but I had seen a lot.
First of all, I saw friends I have made coming to the refuge. I went on a hike toward Deaver Pond with a friend, and I saw several species of butterflies, dragonflies, and even some damselflies. Another thing that caught my eye was a spider crawling around on the web it had woven around some flowers. I took several pictures of this, I find it fascinating - their webs are like a piece of art. The web was woven completely around a batch of flowers.
I mustn’t leave out all the different varieties of wildflowers growing everywhere! All the colors are just beautiful. One of my favorites is Indian Blanket or “Firewheel”. The vibrant orange/red center with yellow tips, I can’t resist getting a picture of one or two every time I get out. The Bee Balms are also beautiful, along with the bright yellow Cone Flowers that are very plentiful. There are all kinds of little insects enjoying these flowers, if you really look at them as you pass by.
The baby geese have really grown in the last few weeks. I watched them as they crossed the road, all in a row. I pulled in the middle of the road to make sure no one came around me and hit any of them. Of course I saw Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and a Great Blue Heron, which are always fun to watch. Even though I have dozens of pictures of them, it is always a pleasure to see them. I saw sparrows and other small birds. I saw Red-wing Blackbirds chasing after some Crows, which was pretty amusing to watch the bigger bird trying to get away from the smaller birds. You see some pretty amazing things at the refuge if you take the time to look.
Ed. Note: Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk. There is no charge for admission. The Refuge Headquarters is open for business Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., holidays excepted. The Headquarters is also open to visitors, thanks to volunteers, on Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and Sundays 1 - 4 p.m., and reduced hours on holidays other than Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more Refuge information, see http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html see http://www.friendsofhagerman.com.