Coastal waters brackish and gray
Home for the birds going to the south
And then back north
a stopping point along the way
Our volunteer gig was a prearranged short time for Forsythe…they had had a cancelation and we were to fill in as the other couple was leaving shortly after we got there. We arrived during a storm. The outer band of a hurricane was driving winds and rain across the pools so hard the refuge viewing roads were closed. Our volunteer coordinator Sandy showed us to our site…only two RV sites here for rvers and the other taken. We backed in beside a nice class a. Near a large two story house with a basement. This house was living quarters for refuge scientists, their offices and laundry facility for all of us. Behind us there was a beautiful lake…as the fall took over it became one of my favorite places to photograph. The staff parked in front of us so weekends it was pretty empty. However, weekdays it was a bustling little area.
Dog walks crossed the parking lot and followed a small roadway from the refuge into a small rural road. Often Frances and I would head into the woods following the deer track or the sounds of wild turkeys. One day, I found the mother load, a large shell. Obviously an eagle or other bird of prey had brought dinner into the woods to dine alone. I enjoyed hunting birds, small mammals, and of course mushrooms with my camera as the leaves changed colors in this beautiful wood. I had an opportunity to learn more about photography from fellow volunteer, Ed.
Mean while our volunteer job was working in the gift shop with Donna Lynn and Jan and a few others. We cleaned, bathrooms, provided birding reports and brochures, and acted as store cashier over the weekends. Our supervisor, Amanda, still a friend, loves birding. She’d take us out and help us identify the myriad of water fowl and song birds. When I explained interpretative roving we had done at Bosque Del Apache, I was supported greatly and was allowed to set up a similar program . A lack of vehicles for roving ended the program when we left. I’m hoping they get in going again soon…it’s a great way to meet birders out on the dikes near the water fowl. We enjoyed manning the store and museum but loved watching the birds on both the fresh and salt water ponds. Over 150 species of birds visit Forsythe through the year. We were pleased to see lucistic wild turkeys, wood ducks, and watch harriers hunt the fields. A wide variety of mammals also use the sanctity of the refuge include rabbits, deer, fox, coyotes, and beaver.
The people of Forsythe were wonderful to work beside. Our fellow volunteers both RVer and local not only cared about the lands and animals but were supportive of their coworkers and genuinely friendly.
Our gig covered two important holidays; Halloween and Thanksgiving. Holidays always bring people closer together. The Halloween party coordinated by Sandy had some scheduling issues; it almost ran into Thanskgiving, LOL…ok that’s not entirely true but wearing a Halloween costume on November 11 feels a little out of place. I of course made a costume. I was working on a refuge so I was a bird. A penguin to be precise. Kathy was a fulltime RVer. I considered making her a sign saying “will work for RV spot”. We attended a great party in a small cabin with several other volunteers. I helped create a murder mystery game during the party, something like clue. The victim, a doll, was killed by a pirate.
Thanksgiving on the other hand was a small gathering inside the staff housing next to us. One of the tech guys cooked a great turkey while we made dressing, sweet potatoes and of course brought canned cranberry jelly, my favorite. The neighbor RVer brought the pumpkin pie. We all had plenty to eat and enjoyed the companionship throughly.
In early December our commitment came to an end. We had served at four refuges in four flyways and were on to a different adventure…..but that’s another post.
Traveler & RVer: About J.L. WrightJ.L. Wright is a fulltime RVer enjoying learning about the United States through exploration. Recent publications include Unadoptable Joy: A memoir in poetry and prose, Heal(er) online magazine, GNU Journal, Whatcom Watch, Solstice Magazine, and Peace Poets Anthology and chapbook. J.L. wishes to start conversations about current issues through a poetic voice. // See J.L. Wright’s Work In TWD Magazine’s 2nd Collection
Article and Images by J.L. Wright of Newbie Fulltime RVers | The Black Lion is a humble interdisciplinary journal that values your voice. For contribution opportunities, visit the Opportunities page; to learn more about submitting to the journal’s creative magazine, visit the The Wire’s Dream Magazine: Submit. | Copyright Policy