Monday, February 16, 2009

Brazos Bend State Park

Early Sunday morning I drove an hour through drizzling rain to Brazos Bend State Park, where there have recently been many reports of uncommon and rare birds. As Deanne wasn't in the mood for birding, I went on my own.

By the time I reached the park, the rain had stopped but it was still misty enough to make taking photos with my little camera quite a challenge.

From the fishing pier at 40 Acre Lake I watched this Great Blue Heron eating what looked like an huge water snake.

The weather slowly improved as I walked round the lake, which had its usual selection of water and wading birds.

Great Egret

Blue-winged Teal

Adult and Immature White Ibis

American Coot

Common Moorhen

However, my camera still struggled to produce a usable photo of this King Rail.

Near the observation tower I bumped into Frank Farese and some other local birders who were watching an American Bittern.

I then walked across to and round Elm Lake, hoping to see the Cinnamon Teal, Vermilion Flycatcher, Rusty Blackbird and Tropical Parula that have been seen regularly there over the past weeks. As it turned out, I was probably the only birder who didn't see any of them.

Walking back to the car, I passed Frank again. He was still watching and photographing the Bittern. Surprisingly, it hadn't moved from its hunting spot in the intervening hour.

On my way out of the park, I stopped to take photos of a half-dozen or so Sandhill Cranes feeding in a field near the entrance.

Although I hadn't seen any of the rarer birds, I had enjoyed my 2-hour walk through the park and the 41 species that I had spotted. Among these were seven new year birds: Gadwall, Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill, King Rail, American Bittern, Caspian Tern and Boat-tailed Grackle.


Birdwoman said...

I've been wanting to get back out to Brazos Bend. Now I want to even more.

Jeff said...

As you probably know, there have been lots of great birds there, including Tropical Parula, Rusty Blackbird, Vermilion Flycatcher and Cinnamon Teal. I missed all of these but the visit was certainly still worthwhile.

Dave said...

Just wanted to tell you that I was enjoying your blog. I was in Brazos Bend a couple of weeks ago and have a number of the same birds that you have. I took a couple days and went to Brazoria NWR, San Bernard, and Brazos Bend. I would love for you to let me know what you think about my blog.

Jeff said...

Hi, Dave.
I'm glad you like the blog.
I checked yours out and I think it's great. I'll certainly start visiting regularly, and I'll add a link to it from here.
I hope you manage to persuade your wife that a trip to the Lower Valley is safe!

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