Choke Canyon Birding Festival

------I had a great time at Choke Canyon State Park. I went down on Friday, February 7th, 2020. I tried to get there super early, but I had a blown out bulb on the camper. I was going to borrow one of Doug's (with his permission), but they were a different kind. I limped over to Walmart, hoping I wouldn't get pulled over or rear ended. I bought a supply of the bulbs. I'll give the ones I had in the trailer to Doug.

------The drive down was really nice. I always opt for going through Somerset, Poteet, Jourdanton, and Tilden. It takes a little longer than using 281/37, but that's okay. Who doesn't enjoy a country drive?

------There were people in my site when I got there, so I drove over to 75 Acre Lake and looked around for awhile before going back and getting set up. Once everything was in place at camp, I took a hike up to the Nature Center. I was hoping Paul Jaure would be there so I could ask about the Skins and Skulls session that was scheduled for the next day. Everywhere I hiked, I ran into the same group of rangers. They were going around looking over sites for the birding festival in a big white van. They were all at the Nature Center, and I met up with Paul there.

------I went to bed early on Friday night so I could get an early start to the bird festival. I wanted to be on the first bird walk at 8:00 am, which they originally said would be limited to 20 people. It wasn't limited at all. In fact, they let people follow the van in their own vehicles.

------At 75 Acre Lake, I met one of my Central Texas RV Campers people and his wife. We ran into each other several times during the day. They were on a tour of several parks, and left on Sunday for Mother Neff. I met another of our members during the lecture series in the old Calliham gymnasium.

------The lectures were all really great. The best thing is that I got to count them at Additional Training, which meant I now had enough hours of services and AT to recertify with the Master Naturalists and receive my American Bumblebee pin. \

------The last session was about raptors. They had several birds that they flew around the gym. They all seemed to like flying right at my head. It became a joke. I suspect that the trainer's son was positioning himself to make it happen after the first time. It was scary but cool to have these giant birds flying so close. They actually touched my hair a few times.

------When that was over, I got in the truck and drove to Three Rivers to get gas and eat a hamburger. I wanted all of Sunday for hiking, etc. On the way back to the camper, I took a quick side trip to 75 Acre Lake. Jeff and his wife were there and we talked a lot while birding. I got some good shots, but have come to the conclusion that I need a better camera. I need a real view finder- not just an LED screen.

------I was pretty tuckered out Saturday night, so I drank some Merlot, watched some episodes of Frankie and Grace with my iPad connected to the TV. I went to bed pretty early with plans of getting up early and taking a nice long birding hike.
Unfortunately, that wonderful bed got the best of me. I kept going back to sleep until about 10:00 AM, which is not considered early by any means. By eleven, I was off on a 6 mile hike that took me until 3:00 PM to complete.

------Back at the camper, I took a nap. I didn't plan to. I planned to read, but fell asleep. My big toe had started hurting out of the blue, so I didn't take any more hikes. Today, I saw that there is a pocket of infection. I am really shocked, because I thought my injury from 5 months ago was totally healed. I have it wrapped with a huge glob of Neosporin. I'll monitor it for a few days and see what gives. Anyway, I watched a movie before going to bed.

------I got up super early, packed up, hitched up, and headed home. I had two worries that I was trying to avoid: 1) The swarm of honey bees at the dump station, and 2) the impending thunder storms once again being touted by WeatherBug. The swarm was already awake when I got to the dumping station. I did what I had to do as quick and as carefully as I could. A bee went up my shorts for a few seconds, but none of them stung me. Let me just add that I am totally grossed out by the bees seeking nectar from the sewer dump!

------The weather never happened. It was dark and overcast, but no winds or rain. Still, the truck and trailer are covered in streaks of dirt. Oh well.I came home and found a BUNCH of entries in the volunteer management system. I have been working on that for a few hours!

------I need a nap.

------Pictures are here: