One of my reasons for going to Brazos Bend was to see Tricolored Herons and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. I had somehow gotten my 2014 list to 140 species without seeing either of these common birds. I was sure I’d see the Yellow-crowned at 40 Acre Lake, where I got my first look at this species on a weekend trip to Texas twelve years ago, but I didn’t spot one. However, I hoped I’d see both Herons at Elm Lake, where we were going to have lunch.
Elm Lake was looking good, its edges decorated with wildflowers.
Unfortunately, birds were surprisingly scarce. There were only a few American Coots and Common Gallinules out on the water, while a Great Egret prowled the near edge.
I scanned the far bank with binoculars. There were no Herons, but I did see an Anhinga drying its wings.
My last chance for the Herons came as we stopped for a few minutes at Creekfield Lake on our way out of the park.
The water here too was very quiet, with just a few Common Gallinules and Blue-winged Teal.
The edges of the lake were anything but quiet because the ground, the trees and the sky overhead were crowded with 200+ Black Vultures.
As there were no Herons, I turned to leave. Just then two Tricolored Herons flew down to the shallows. One immediately took off again but one stayed just long enough for me to get a photo.
So at least I managed to see one of my two target birds!
On Sunday I drove over to the Sheldon Lake Environmental Center and fitted in just a few minutes of birding between thunderstorms. It was worth it, because two Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were perched in trees by the path.