Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sheldon Lake

As the weather is so beautiful at present, we arranged to meet up with friends at Sheldon Lake Environmental Center, just east of Houston.

The visit started off well for birds: The tree-tops around the parking area had Northen Mockingbirds, an Eastern Phoebe and a Brown Thrasher, while an Anhinga circled high overhead.

The largest pond had an Eastern Kingbird and a very friendly young alligator, which drifted lazily over to check us out.

The other ponds looked great ...

but had surprisingly few birds: an adult and a young Little Blue Heron, a Great Egret, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and another Brown Thrasher. None of these let me get photos.

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was more cooperative. He was perhaps the reddest Red-bellied that I've ever seen, with the color on his front stretching from his upper chest right down to his belly.

After that, the only bird we saw was a Cooper's Hawk, which zoomed by while we were having lunch.

If birds were scarce, butterflies were abundant. Bushy stands of Turk's Cap were a magnet for several types of butterfly including Gulf Fritillaries.

Gulf Fritillary

On the way back home, we stopped off at a fishing jetty on Fauna / Pineland Road (now signposted throughout as Pineland Rd.). Although the invasive water hyacinth seems to have been cleared away, the water level was low and the area was largely covered with brown grasses. The only bird I saw was another Anhinga.

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