In winter, Attwater is generally a very good place to see sparrows and this was the case on Sunday. The entrance road had many Savannah Sparrows, while the auto route had Field, Vesper, Lincoln's and White-crowned Sparrows.
The track and the verges were busy with Eastern Phoebes, American Pipits, Northern Mockingbirds, Loggerhead Shrikes, Mourning Doves and many Eastern Meadowlarks. We also had good looks at a Marsh Wren and, seemingly very out of place, a Pine Warbler.
As there was plenty of water everywhere, we expected to see lots of wading birds. However, the only ones we spotted were a couple of Great Blue Herons and a handful of Great Egrets.
The lake area was very busy with American Coots, Pied-billed Grebes and a good number of ducks. Lesser Scaup, Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers were plentiful and I was glad to see two new-for-2010 species: Gadwall and Northern Pintail.
We stopped to look at the refuge's herd of bison.
While we sat there admiring the bison, we were treated to the spectacle of hundreds of Snow Geese streaming overhead, their haunting calls filling the air.
By the time we left the refuge, we had seen 32 species, which was significantly fewer than we had expected. However, we were not at all disappointed. The great views we had of Northern Harriers, White-tailed Hawks and Snow Geese alone made the trip worthwhile - and there was the added bonus of increasing my year list from 111 to 115 species.