Evening Strolls and Other Stuff at Loxahatchee NWR

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For the last couple of days I’ve managed to take a two mile walk at the end of my volunteer workday.
The refuge is a magical place just before sunset. My observation each evening revealed that the Egrets, Herons and other large birds head west, as if on a mission, into the setting sun at dusk. I now know where exactly to be standing with the camera at the ready as those birds fly over head. Next time.
Yesterday my walk included carrying the camera, but my focus was on the walk and I have to admit that I really just needed to get out of the coach while Ken took an online ATV/UTV class. After spending my workday on the computer and processing fees, it was time to go out and clear my head. The walk was therapeutic with some great bird sightings and a pretty sunset. Not all pictures were successful since I am learning a new camera, but it was a good learning session.
This morning I spent my volunteer hours at the front desk of the visitor center and the shift started and ended off at a brisk, whirlwind-like pace. The afternoon involved office work (last little bit of fee process and file work) before spending the final hour of the day in a workshop conducted by a refuge law enforcement (LE) officer. The workshop focus was to help volunteers understand their role in supporting law enforcement issues – our job is to educate the public – not enforce rules, but more importantly, we must communicate issues to LE and let them do their job. There was a good exchange of information and it’s always a good refresher for Ken and me to hear what LE needs us to do.
Ken and the other maintenance volunteers have worked tirelessly this week pulling up old boards on the Boardwalk pavilion and replacing them with new ones. It was labor intensive and hot, sweaty work for the last three 80 degree days and they will get back to it again next week, although we are expecting a cold front with cooler temps then.
For both of us it was a busy, mind boggling day that ended with Ken back at the laptop taking another training session on ATV/UTV safety, so I grabbed the camera and my hat and headed to the Marsh Trail.
There were some real treats waiting for me when I got out there, starting with a Purple Gallinule, which I have been waiting to see here. Next up, was my old friend, the Great Horned Owl, which, unlike last time, gave me full face shot. The sunset was pretty too, but I spent more time talking with visitors than taking photos.
Ken was just finishing up when I returned so my timing was good and I arrived rejuvenated with some really fun photos that I hope you will enjoy.

Dorothy & Ken

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