Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – August 28, 2017
I am just getting back from a short…cut even shorter…vacation to go deep see fishing in south Texas. Yes, you read that correctly…Rockport to be exact where my family lives….dead center for hurricane Harvey.
Upon arrival I was informed that the weather was picture perfect for a gulf adventure to catch (and release) cool fish…red snapper, Spanish mackerel, look down Jack (my favorite), popano, and a few other varieties. It was fun. No seasickness, no sunburns, no sore muscles, just a relaxing yet exhilarating (if that is possible) outing and long awaited visit with my family.
A day and a half day later Mother Nature had her way with everyone. Luckily the prediction of a hurricane sent me out of town on the last plane to leave the Corpus Christi airport.
Then all hell broke loose.
I noticed for the first time as we headed in from fishing that the usual multitudes of frolicking dolphins weren’t around. I am wondering now if that could be an early warning signal that the storm was a’coming. The calm of the sea that I experienced went from barely noticeable swells to a buoy reading of 20.5 feet shortly before the hurricane hit Rockport as a category 4 hurricane. Oh my!
This is an area that I have visited for years. I was in the evacuation that happened with category 5 hurricane Allen in 1980. Upon return, it wasn’t unusual to see huge boats stranded on land…way in land, but there didn’t seem to be the same horrific wind damage that we are seeing in the media. It just seems that this was a mean hurricane with a nasty eye and a will to keep going.
When the announcements came in that this was a hurricane, now a tropical storm, hanging over Houston and the area dropping the potential of 50 inches of rain, my head swiveled. In our cozy little desert it would take around 6 years to get that kind of attention from Mother Nature…me thinks she is unhappy. Photos from my niece make her house look like a river runs through it…yikes! And then there is the clean up!!!
In situations like this, I am constantly reminded of the resilience of people, critters, institutions. It is horrifying to see the devastation that Mother Nature can initiate. It is gratifying to see humankind respond to mitigate for the devastation.
But, really enough is enough….take a breather Mom and let these folks catch up.
This Week @ Liberty – August 28, 2017
Wow. It appears we have survived the big rush of intakes for this our first year in our new home. Not that we are totally devoid of new arrivals, but the days of a steady stream of injured and orphaned animals queuing up at the window appears to be over – for now. But everybody knows that all we’d need to start the rush again is a particularly violent storm (see Megan’s recount above!) and it’s way too early to count the monsoon out for 2017. At least for now, most of the time we don’t need a lot of small “single occupancy” berry baskets at the intake window as the birds and animals that do arrive tend to be somewhat larger than the infants we had been taking in. All in all, it’s a welcomed time to catch our breath after a record spring at Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife.
Here’s some of what the last two weeks looked like…
We currently have two golden eagles in our care. Goldens typically face two prevalent dangers when they are injured and forced to spend time on the ground: aspergillosis and West Nile Virus. The former is a fungal problem caused by prolonged contact with bare earth, while the later is transmitted by mosquitos. Asper is difficult to avoid as it’s present in most soil, while WNV is treated with a vaccine. It hasn’t been conclusively proven effective in avian species yet, but results do appear promising. In our new facility, some the investigatory blood work can be done in our own lab on site.
No matter what the species or injury, an animal that is lucky enough to survive its injury and gets to Liberty will receive the best treatment possible. This little dove had a large portion of the skin on its head peeled back, but Dr. Wyman and Jan closed the wound giving the bird a second chance at life.
It’s migration time again, and each year during this time period, we see several species of pretty little migratory warblers and other song birds that are not common to our area. In the last two weeks, we have seen a McGuillevry’s warbler, a black headed grosbeak, an orange crowned warbler, and an ash-throated flycatcher, among others. I try hard to get photos of all these little visitors, as long as getting the pictures doesn’t add to their stress level. Today, a western grebe came to us. He was in good condition, but was found on a road. Grebes need a long stretch of water in order to take-off as their design does not allow for motivation on land. He was taken to a local lake and allowed to return to the air.
Speaking of little visitors, a lady brought this little spotted skunk in last week. She thought it was a baby due to its size, but spotted skunks are small to start with and it seems he was an adult. PLUS he didn’t like being incarcerated and sprayed almost everything in sight before he was placed in an enclosure in the mammal room. The odor was, shall we say, remarkable and is just now, 5 days later, beginning to dissipate. I don’t know how she made the trip from Tonopah in her car but she did. Carl Price made the supreme sacrifice and drove him up to SWW for further evaluation and release. We don’t turn anything down!
Posted by Terry Stevens