Monday, September 14, 2009

On the Katy Prairie

Lured by on-line reports of a Groove-billed Ani, I was exploring Hebert Road on the Katy Prairie at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. It was a beautiful morning: cloudy and cool with occasional drizzle. Quite a change from the weather we had from May through the end of August. Trees and utility poles long the roadside had Black Vultures, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Northern Mockingbirds, Loggerhead Shrikes and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. Some of the fields were busy with Great and Cattle Egrets.

After a fruitless 15 minutes looking for the Ani at the site where it had been spotted on Saturday, I decided to check out Paul Rushing Park to see if more migrating shorebirds had arrived there. On my way, I stopped to grab a quick photo of a Crested Caracara.

To my surprise, the park was totally devoid of shorebirds (unless you count Killdeer, which were as numerous as ever). For the first time in months, I didn't see even a single Black-necked Stilt.

The weather was still cool and damp as
I walked around the lakes.

Several groups of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks took flight as I approached the water, but one family group opted to stay put.

The only other birds on the water were three Pied-billed Grebes, four Mallards and a handful of exotic ducks.

Wading birds seemed to be limited to G
reat and Snowy Egrets until I noticed a Tricolored Heron standing on the handrail of a boardwalk. I chatted to it as I approached and it let me take several close-up photos.

By 10:00 a.m. the sun was breaking through the clouds and it was back to more normal Texas heat and humidity.


Elizabeth said...

Wow, gorgeous pictures!!!

Herons are so beautiful. I saw a great-blue heron yesterday, and had to stop and admire his neck for several minutes.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. There are usually Great Blue Herons at Paul Rushing but none showed up while I was there.