The first time I went to the Blanca Wetlands every pond and maintenance road looked the same. I was extremely lost to say the least. This weekend was the first time this season that I was able to drive the maintenance roads and it was an amazing to see how much I had learned from last season. I actually knew a majority of the ponds by number and remembered where most of the maintenance roads lead to.
Currently, at Blanca Wetlands we are working with the PRBO in trying to find a protocol for surveying the shorebirds on various ponds. My BLM supervisors highlighted various routes they wanted me to drive to determine if they meet all of the requirements of the protocol. I was not surprised to see snow on the ground and many of the ponds still frozen, but I was extremely surprised to find avocets and killdeer this soon. I spotted three killdeer on pond 184 and twelve avocets on pond 114. The killdeer were too far to take pictures of, but I was able to get a couple pictures of the avocets. It was a truly an odd sight seeing these shorebirds in ponds that are still partly covered in ice and snow.