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Confounded Sighting
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Confounded Sighting
Confounded Sighting
Confounded Sighting
Confounded Sighting
Confounded Sighting
Confounded Sighting

    Are you from outer space?  That’s what the guy said, as he pulled his Chevy Tracker with Oregon plates up near where I was sitting.  I’d just noticed three amazing items, that shouldn’t be here, and now I was being asked if I was from outer space by the first person I’d seen for several days. Oh, the answers I could give, because sometimes I know I don’t fit in this crazy world, but it’s all those others that are weird, not me.  I truly believe that at least 25 percent of the people we pass on the street are nuts and who knows who’s a wacko whose fuse is about burned up and will explode at any moment!  Being from a distant world would explain their thinking or actions!  He was kinda smiling, so I suppressed the smartaleck answers. I said, “I guess you didn’t expect to see someone sitting here in the sun in a lawn chair. My RV is over there about a mile away.”
    I was by the road in the middle of Hart Mine Marsh in Cibola NWR (www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/CibolaNWR) in the middle of nowhere.  His female companion, probably his wife, asked if I’d seen any unusual birds. I had an answer, since, yes, I’d seen some surprising birds here, but not as astonishing as what was near my feet. I rattled off my list of sightings: a flock of glossy ibis, two white pelicans, a marsh hawk, another hawk that was grayish on the top and white with black wing tips from beneath, plus I saw a bobcat and two coyotes.
    I said, “I’m not certain one was a Marsh Hawk, but it sure looked like what I called a Marsh Hawk in the Chesapeake Bay area where I’m from.” The guy said this is a marsh and it is a hawk, so that makes it a marsh hawk. That’s my kind of logic, too, and I said I really don’t care what type of birds they are; I’m just enjoying the sunshine. I added, Glossy Ibis aren’t on the list of birds for here that the Refuge has prepared, but the White Faced Ibis is, but I couldn’t see any white on the faces; but maybe like the Red Headed Woodpecker there’s very little red on its head, unlike some other woodpeckers that have totally red heads, and there’s very little white on the head.
    He thumbed through their bird book and found the White Faced Ibis and showed me the head was totally white.  What I saw was not that, so it’s a flock of Glossy Ibis probably migrating through.   When I get by the Refuge Office I’ll tell them about them and if there’s a list for visitors to add unusual sightings I’ll do that, too.  I won’t make a special trip, though.  I don’t care that much. I just enjoy being outdoors where it’s warm, especially when it’s cold in Ocean City.
    This place certainly has filled that condition and this was my eighth day here, but no camping is allowed in the Refuge.  I’m on a seek and discover mission here.  I’ve visited here for a couple days other years.  The Refuge has the Colorado River, Trego Mountains, Lake Cibola, and Hart Mine Marsh (a wetland) surrounded by desert, which is all Bureau of Land Management territory, where it’s OK to camp for long periods of time; I figured it had the potential to hold my interest. It has, and I’ve compiled a list of paths to walk. There’s a network of dirt/sand/gravel roads for biking (a little tough in the sandy gravel), and the myriad of geography multiplies the variety of wildlife. I’m looking all the time, but I missed the most astounding sighting yet this morning before I sat down.
    I appreciated the rest since I’d walked about six miles to an area of the wetland that’s used for a public goose hunting site.  That’s where I saw the hawks. There’s two sanipots (there’s none in the BLM lands, so a shovel is needed!). BLM land is less than a half mile away, and the ponds of the wetland are close by. I’ll be moving close to there for a week or so in a couple days, then I’ll move to the desert close to the Trego Mountains, where the view includes the lake, river and marsh in the distance.
    As the guy and his wife were about to pull away I asked what he thought of this, as I reached down and picked up one of the claws near my feet. He wasn’t impressed and said, “they’re no good for anything.”  I said, I sure didn’t expect to see crawfish claws here. He nodded and drove away. I picked up all three; they’ll become part of the decorations in my nest (a slide-in camper on a Ford F-150 pickup truck) with other findings that confounded me. I sure don’t know what kind of critter with small blue crab-like claws is living here in the Hart Mine Marsh in the middle of the desert. I surely didn’t expect to see claws lying here on the ground.  How did they get here?  What happened to the rest of the critter?  Is there something sly enough to catch a crawfish, then smart enough to break off the claws, so it is defenseless, so it can be easily devourrf without the attacker being pinched and lacerated by those claws?  I’ve experienced the cut and pain a crab’s claws can inflict. They are vicious and quick!
    What other mysteries are out there in this NoWhereLand? I may never know many of them, but I do know; there is no New Orleans style food carryout up the street serving crawdads, jambalaya, or gumbo! They had to come from a critter that lived in the marsh water!
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
more photos @ picasaweb.google.com/o.c.fotoguy2009
& facebook.com/OCfotoguy
PHOTOSAsYouWantThem.biz, articles @ Coconuttimes.com


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