Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brazos Bend: 40 Acre Lake

Thursday morning we met up with friends at Brazos Bend State Park on what turned out to be a beautiful spring day.

We started our visit with a walk around 40 Acre Lake, which contained more water than we'd seen there in years. However, the lake was less busy with birds than usual. Several Double-crested Cormorants were gliding smoothly across the water.

Pied-billed Grebes paddled around, disappearing as the dove to feed on plants below the surface.

Dozens of White Ibis perched in nearby trees, very distinctive with their white plumage and curved, scarlet beaks.

Alligators rested along the sides of the path.

The marshy area across the path from the lake had many Red-eared Sliders.

Turtles usually dive into the water as soon as anyone approaches them but here they seemed oblivious to the people walking by just a few yards away. Presumably these ones are so used to visitors that they have learned it is safe to ignore them.

The marshy area also had plenty of birds. Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets stood motionless in the shallow water as they waited for prey to appear. By contrast, numerous White Ibis, Common Gallinules and American Coots were constantly on the move as they grazed.

We took the path towards Elm Lake. 

The path was lined with scores more White Ibis, as well as more alligators.

Here a few ducks - Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers - swam or waded among the other waterbirds.

I was hoping to see Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night Herons along this path but instead had to settle for a Little Blue Heron.

After reaching Elm Lake, we headed back past 40 Acre Lake to retrieve the cars and to drive over to where we planned to have our picnic lunch.

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