Vincent, a native of Alabama, came to the refuge in early May, and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Mississippi. This is his first assignment with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, which oversees the wildlife refuge.
For 13 years, he worked for the state of Missouri in the Bootheel, which is the little piece of the state at the far southeast corner. “It’s tucked in between Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. There are three counties that make up the Bootheel of Missouri, and two are bordered on the east by the Mississippi River,” he said. “I did a lot of waterfowl management there.”
Raised in northwest Alabama, Vincent is a graduate of Auburn University. “I have been in many places in the southeast U.S. and have had a broad base of experience.”
He said he wanted to come to this region because he had never been out west before. “It’s my first time out west, and the wildlife manager job was open and I applied. Different scenery, different setting, different experiences.”
At the Pahranagat refuge he said what interests him most is the cinnamon teal duck. The cinnamon teal is a species found in western North and South America. It is a small dabbling duck, with bright reddish plumage on the male and duller brown plumage on the female. Their breeding habitat is marshes and ponds in the western U.S. and extreme southwestern Canada. They feed mostly on plants, and are rare visitors to the East Coast. Cinnamon teal generally select new mates each year. They are migratory, which brings them along the Pacific Flyway and the Pahranagat refuge, and most winter in northern South America and the Caribbean. Some winter in California and southwestern Arizona.
“We have over 200 species of birds that can be found on the refuge,” he said, including Canada geese and bald aagles. “There are also some endangered species, the Southwestern willow flycatcher, nesting on the north end of the lake. One of the priority species here is the sandhill crane.”
Vincent said he wants to “incorporate different strategies to improve the marshes for migrating and wintering shore birds, waterfowl, migratory birds, especially in the sage meadow area and the marshes and just try and keep the refuge as healthy and productive as possible for our migrates.”
The new visitors center, and Vincent’s office, is open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.