At dawn on Sunday I was driving around Austin's sewage plant - or, as they call it here, "the Hornsby Bend water treatment facility."
The first of the large ponds had several Pied-billed Grebes. The light was still very poor but I managed to get one viewable photo.
The Grebes were sharing the pond with rafts of American Coots.
The Coots were unconcerned as long as I stayed in the car but, as soon as I got out, they would panic and take to flight.
A walk down to the river produced nothing except Northern Cardinals and Carolina Chickadees but the ponds started to show more signs of life as the sun rose.
While White-faced Ibis wheeled overhead, Cattle Egrets began to waken up on the tree where they had been roosting.
As the light improved, Eastern Phoebes and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers started hunting for their breakfasts.
Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers were cruising the pond ...
sieving the water for their food.
Several Ruddy Ducks were the first I had seen in Texas this year.
The second pond more American Coots, as well as a few American Avocets, four Great Egrets, a Marsh Wren and my first fall Lincoln's and Savannah Sparrows. However, the air here was too thick with fumes for me to linger very long.
By now, I'd noticed that several other cars of birders had arrived. I wondered if perhaps a local birding club had organized a trip to the site. As I soon learned, the truth was much more exciting. But I'll wait until tomorrow to post about what was really going on.