Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brazos Bend: Elm Lake

After leaving 40 Acre, I dropped in Creekfield Lake but there was little activity there, except for numerous Coots and Moorhens.

A quick visit to Hale Lake was even less productive : I didn't see or hear a single bird!

So then it was on to Elm Lake, where I came upon Savannah Sparrows and an American Pipit before I'd even gotten out of the car.

 American Pipit

Several American Crows were a few yards further away.

I walked over to the northwest corner of the lake to look at a Great Egret hunting in the shallows.

I had seen only a handful of alligators at 40 Acre but I soon realized that Elm Lake was going to be a different story. Just behind the Egret there were six mainly young alligators lying head to tail in a line. Some were resting on the alligator in front of them.
One seemed to be a youngster cuddling up on its mom's back.

As I scanned the surrounding area, I counted ten more alligators, most of them large adults. Another juvenile was sharing a log with a Snowy Egret.

I spent my final few minutes in the park walking along the west edge of the lake.

There were plenty of Coots, Moorhens and Blue-winged Teal, as well as a group of thirty or so Ring-necked Ducks. The male Ring-necked look rather impressive from the side ...

... but rather comical from the front.

White Ibis were in the trees ...

... while a juvenile White-faced was patrolling with a bunch of adult Whites.


The White-faced soon flew off.

One of several Great Egrets let me get unusually close - I find they are normally very intolerant of onlookers - and I watched as it caught and ate a small fish.

My final view was of a Snowy Egret, its plumes streaming out behind its head. Always a lovely sight!

My time up, I headed back to the car. I hadn't seen any of my target birds, although I had spotted a pair of Tree Swallows, my year bird #134. However, I had enjoyed seeing numerous alligators and 36 bird species. So it was certainly a worthwhile trip. In fact, I've never made a trip to Brazos Bend that wasn't worthwhile, which is why it's my favorite park in southeast Texas.

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