Saturday I drove to the Hagerman National Wildlife Preserve near Pottsboro, Texas, about forty five minutes north of my home, on huge Lake Texoma.
Detours due to road construction got me off track on the way. The kind guide gave me directions by phone. Although yesterday was the day for the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, I elected to show up later than the count time, for a quiet solitary bird viewing.
Snow geese fly to the flyway with their near cousins, the smaller Ross' geese (which I cannot tell apart from snow geese). They arrive in very late Autumn and largely leave in very early Winter, as they head south for the winter. They land on huge wetlands marshes at the preserve, eat all they see, and fly away again.
As I pulled into the park, huge V shaped white flocks were flying overhead. At the park, I saw a good number of snow geese, but other birds fascinated me as well--lots of great blue herons, white raft-islands of seagulls, little brown sparrows, killdeers--which are plover cousins--along the shore.
Also, there were lots of huge well pumps, incongruously but not unpleasingly pumping oil.
I stayed for a while, looking at birds through my binoculars.
My wife and I then went to lunch. We ate a sandwich at Whichwhich, and then headed to the place that sells tolltags
for the local toll roads. A tolltag electronically logs the tolls, so that one is sent a convenient bill each month, rather than having to brandish coins.
We needed this new tolltag because we recently purchased my wife a new Nissan Altima. I feel a sense of unwarranted pride that after the dealership declined to accept my generous offer during the negotiation, I had the good sense to walk way from the dealership rather than up my offer. The dealership called within 2 days, ready to accept the offer.
Although the price we got was not a 'wonderful' price, it was good to hold fast for a decent price.
The line at the tolltag office was surprisingly long, but it processed swiftly. The tolltags are now adhesive thin strips, rather than little plastic boxes. The man was very helpful.
We then paid our first visit to The Observatory, in Plano, which is a place for telescopes, microscopes, and binoculars. We own one set of good quality birding binoculars, but needed a second set for my wife.
The place was amazing--a small store full of enough telescopes to permit shopping for days.
We explained what we wanted--good quality but a lighter set of binoculars. He sold us a Vortex at a very reasonable price with very good visuals.
I love stores like this, and am happy to forego bargain hunting on the internet if the store provides, as here, expert guidance in the products. One woman in a Mercedes convertible was buying her husband a huge telescope as a Christmas present. It would not fit in her car, so she took home the exmpty box. He will get his Christmas twice--once at the box, and once when he picks up the telescope.
Saturday evening we went to eat at a new Turkish place, which served the best lamb kebabs we have ever eaten. Then I watched a sports contest on television, which my preferred team won.
Saturday turned out very well, though I accomlished little in the way of Christmas shopping or of getting enough exercise.