Sunday morning I was out bright and early on my way to Sheldon Lake, which has now become a state park. The site has a new entrance road, which runs south from Garrett Road a mile or so east of Beltway 8.
Last time I visited, the field by the entrance road had scores of White Ibis and Little Blue Herons. This time there was just a solitary Northern Mockingbird around.
One of the ponds further along the road had a Yellowlegs and a Snowy Egret (below).
This bird was not doing the usual Snowy Egret routine of dashing around in the water so that its yellow feet would stir up prey. Instead it would dip one foot daintily into the water and gently draw circles with it.
The ecology ponds were largely overgrown and, while beautiful, had few birds.
A Belted Kingfisher at one pond flew off before I could raise my camera. A Great Egret was more cooperative, perching proudly on top of a snag.
I watched for several minutes as an adult Little Blue Heron crept across the lilypads as it hunted for its breakfast.
I made a quick trip to the top of the 3-story observation tower. (It was quick because the elevator was working!) From the top platform you get great views over the lake.
Back on the ground, I got into the car and drove over to boat ramp near the end of Pineland Road.
A walk along the edge of the lake turned up hundreds of dragonflies.
Gulf Fritillary and Common Buckeye butterflies were plentiful also.
At the fishing jetty, I was able to watch several Common Gallinules and two Pied-billed Grebes (below).
Some juvenile Neotropic Cormorants were fishing nearby. (I could tell they were Neotropic rather than Double-crested because their lores were dark rather than orange.)
Across the water, an Anhinga was drying off its wings while a few yards away, a Little Blue Heron was preening. I felt privileged to get to share part of the morning with them