.Sunday morning I took a quick drive down to El Franco Lee Park, just south of Belway 8 between 288 and I-45. There had been reports that a Least Grebe was hanging out in the extensive wetlands there.
When I arrive, I couldn't believe my eyes. The short boardwalk normally juts out into what is essentially a large lake but this time there was no water anywhere near it.
I took nature trail #2 and eventually found some water. However, there wasn't much of it and it was surrounded by sea of mud.
Families of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were wandering around on the mud, looking rather forlorn.
In the distance, the small remaining stretch of water had a good number of birds - Roseate Spoonbills, Great and Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Blue-winged Teal and some shorebirds. Unfortunately, there was no Least Grebe.
I left feeling depressed. Not because of missing out on the Grebe. But because of what the drought has done to what is normally a very vibrant wetlands.
On my way out of the park a solitary Laughing Gull looked totally out-of-place as it stood on a utility pole.