Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beautiful Morning on the Prairie

On Tuesday I managed to find time to driv
e over to the Katy Prairie on what turned out to be a perfect Texas spring morning. After a storm the previous night, the weather was wonderful: warm and clear with low humidity.

Turning up Porter Road End from FM529, I was surprised to see about 250 White Ibis grazing in a waterlogged field. Longenbaugh Road was busy with several Scissor-tailed Flycatchers as well as its usual complement of Northern Mockingbirds and Loggerhead Shrikes.

A fence post was serving as a perch for a Northern Bobwhite - the first I've ever seen along Longenbaugh - but I was
too slow to get a photo.

At Paul Rushing Park, the wildlife was in a relaxed mood. Butterflies flitted lazily from one patch of flowers
to another.

A large nutria grazed quietly next to one of the lakes. Eastern Meadowlarks sang from posts and small trees. Killdeer trotted across the grass with only occasional calls of complaint. A couple of great Egrets and a Snowy Egret moved silently away as I approached, as did a Co
mmon Nighthawk and a pair of Blue-winged Teal.

The only discordant note was struck by a pair of Black-necked Stilts. Presumably worried that I was too close to their nest, they harassed me for several minutes, protesting loudly as they flew over my head or settled on the grass nearby.

A solitary Tricolored Heron was more mellow as he fished in one lake while a handful of Barn Swallows swooped back and forth above him.

My final sighting was of thirty or so Cattle Egrets lined up on the handrails of one of the boardwalks.

Looking splendid in their breeding plumage, they made a nice end to a brief but very enjoyable visit to the prairie.


Pam said...

Looks like a beautiful place, it's nice to have moments just to enjoy. I love the Egrets all lined up!

Jeff said...

The park is a funny mixture of sports fields and a chain of lakes with boardwalks. The sports fields attract a lot of birds, though.