A walk in the park
Texas is blessed with a number of wonderful state and national parks and national wildlife refuges. It's one of the things that makes our area a paradise for birders. And birds.
Last Saturday, our family spent most of the day at one of my favorite parks and birding spots, Brazos Bend State Park. The occasion was a celebration of our older daughter's birthday. The park is near where she and her husband live and celebrating her birthday there has become an annual event.
After our cook-out luncheon, we went for a walk around Elm Lake, one of the several lakes within the park. And, of course, I managed to get in a little birding along the way. Birds were not as plentiful as they will be in spring and summer, but there were still a good number of them about.
|One can always count on seeing American Coots at any time of the year at any wetland in the area.
|And the Common Gallinule is truly common.
|There were scores of noisy Black-bellied Whistling Ducks around the lake. It was mid-day and early afternoon when we were walking and we found most of them preening or napping.
|This pair of White Ibises were having a late lunch.
|The Northern Harrier hunts ducks and other water birds. This one was almost hidden among the branches and seemed to be assessing the possibilities for a meal.
|This Great Egret probably thought she was hidden among the grasses. Note the heavy yellow beak.
|Nearby was one of her smaller cousins, a Snowy Egret. Note the dark beak. The bird also has dark legs but its feet are golden, giving it the appearance of wearing golden slippers.
|This Double-crested Comorant almost appears to be a part of the dead tree it is sitting on. Only the color of its eye and beak give it away.
|It's a bit unusual to see a female Blue-winged Teal all on her own. Usually they travel in pairs. No doubt her colorful mate is somewhere nearby.
|This White Ibis is keeping a watch on things from a high perch. Maybe he's watching that Northern Harrier.
|Pied-bill Grebes spend about as much time under the water as on top of it. Typically, just about the time one gets ready to snap their picture, they dive.
|It was a warm day and there were many 'gators like this one lounging on the banks.
|There were many small ones, but also many of larger size like this one that was longer than my 5'5".
|And then there was this one that was on a bank across the lake from where we were walking. As best I could judge, I think it was the largest one we saw, but it is difficult to estimate its length.