Friday, February 5, 2016

DeGray Eagles Et Cetera

DeGray Lake Resort Logo with Blue Heron
After spending a month layover at the Escapees RV Club headquarters camp in Livingston, TX my journeys have taken me to Arkadelphia and Hope Arkansas for my first Search and Rescue (SAR) training class.  I’ll be returning to Livingston after two weeks for a one week stay before traveling back west. However, I have to return to Arkadelphia in March to complete the field exam that completes my SARTECH II certification with the National Association For Search and Rescue. 

I was only one of three RV campers staying midweek at DeGray Lake Resort State Park. It’s a very nice park this is with all the accoutrements of the modern state resort park: golf course, large marina, seasonal riding stable, widely spaced camp sites, and three rental yurts. It’s only by coincidence that I managed to pick the nicest of spots overlooking the 13,500 acre reservoir.

When I awoke the first morning I inadvertently flushed from the tall pines surrounding my site a flock of previously unseen black vultures. To my surprise twenty-four vultures returned to one tree adjacent to the RV for the evening to catch the last warming rays of sunshine. Roosting but 50 yards away on a dead snag were two adult American Bald Eagles sharing the serene shoreline.

Black Vulture
Black Vulture
My days at the lake were spent quietly hiking the local shoreline and purchasing the last of the SAR pack supplies needed for the training class. I’m a little surprised how few campers there were in the campground midweek. The weather was quite nice during the day and the temps only drop to the 40’s at night.

The population soared on the weekend as it was the start of the park’s 37th annual “Eagles Et Cetera” celebration. No, this is not a fan club event for the rock band (I wish). Offered during the three day celebration were numerous eagle and owl watch tours, raptor rehab demonstrations, and a live falconry hunt.  I couldn't attend because they coincided with the training sessions, but I was able to see enough to know there will be plenty to see in this watershed.

Midweek I drove north to Hot Springs, AR to possibly “take in the waters” before returning for the start of the training. More on that next time I post.

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