Friday, April 28, 2006

Barking frogs and blind snakes? Oh my!

Today’s outing was to 24,500-acre Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1937 as a haven for migrating waterfowl. Paul, Betsy, Penny and I enjoyed several hours there. We didn’t see the barking frogs or blind snakes, but they are there.

The ranger on duty there was full of information. We took the 8-mile driving loop, stopping many times to observe wildlife.

The brochure says, “…where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains, bizarre geology is responsible for habitats supporting wildlife you’ll find nowhere else in the world.”

The seasonal migrations of birds, ducks, geese and cranes provide visitors with plenty to watch. Other critters that call the refuge home are amphibians and reptiles, including barking frogs (found only in three New Mexico counties), Pecos pupfish (they change from dull brown to iridescent blue in breeding season), spadefoot toads and the Texas blind snake.

The big annual event at the refuge is the Dragonfly Festival. The dragonfly and damselfly population peaks in August and visitors can see the most diverse population in North America. Did you know how to tell dragonflies from damselflies? Look at their wings. Dragonflies’ wings are always perpendicular to their bodies; damselflies’ wings can fold back parallel with their bodies.

In the late afternoon, Penny and I set out down the lake trail to see if we could locate “Lost Lake.” (We did – it is off the trail and hidden by the surrounding tamarisk trees)

Friday evening my Albuquerque friend Larry Flinn drove in to spend the weekend. The wind was blowing fiercely, but amazingly (to me) he got his tent up and securely staked. About 9:30 that evening, the skies opened up and dumped rain for an hour or so. I love the sound of the rain on the motorhome roof, but I wondered how Larry was faring in his tent.

I fell asleep listening to the rain on the roof and counting my blessings that include family and wonderful friends. As I meet people, I gravitate to those with positive attitudes. Here’s what W. Clement Stone has to say about attitude:

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.