On Wednesday Dee and I drove down to Brazos Bend State Park on a perfect spring morning, hoping to see alligators.
We saw plenty! Our previous day record there was 19; this time I saw 50. They were everywhere, including on the paths around 40 Acre Lake and Elm Lake. We both came close to accidentally stepping on one a couple of times, which probably would be a bad idea. A Tricolored Heron almost made this mistake but realized just in time and fluttered away in a hurry.
Unfortunately, none of them were bellowing this time. They were just lazing in the sunshine.
This let us admire them at close range and to see details we don't usually notice - like their amazing feet.
Red-eared Sliders were also enjoying the sun.
The lakes were busy with American Coots, Common Moorhens, Blue-winged Teal and Pied-billed Grebes.
Double-crested Cormorants were looking particularly pretty in their breeding outfits.
Little Blue Herons struck up one elegant pose after another as they fished.
The lighting made the landscape around the lakes even more striking than usual.
It certainly brought out the color of this Ibis's bill and legs.
I'd never noticed before that you can see the wing bones of Ibises when the flying birds are backlit.
This Tufted Titmouse was so busy trying to collect nest material that it let me approach very close to take a series of photos.
I also got very close to an American Kestrel. This didn't require any fieldcraft, though; the bird was a captive one, sitting on a ranger's glove.