Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sheldon Lake State Park

As the weather forecast for Sunday morning was good, we drove over to Sheldon Lake State Park. The weather did turn out to be excellent but, partly because of this, the park had many more visitors than usual and this seemed to make many birds keep their heads down.

We started off with a quick stop at the old parking lot at Carpenter's Bayou and were delighted to see that the water there was no longer completely covered by vegetation. I was hoping to see Wood Ducks but had to be content with Anhinga, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, American Coots, Common Gallinules and Blue-winged Teal (below).

When we reached the main entrance, we were greeted by a beautiful Eastern Bluebird.

Further along the entrance road the ponds had Black-necked Stilts, Greater Yellowlegs, Snowy Egrets, Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. Even more exciting, there were three Red-breasted Mergansers, one of our favorite bird species.

The ponds at the environmental center had only a few birds. We saw half-a-dozen Yellow-crowned Night Herons.

Eight Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were hanging out in one pond.

In another a Little Blue Heron was posing amid the reeds.

One of the highlights was when a Bald Eagle circled overhead in the company of three Broad-winged Hawks.

Another highlight was spotting a Great Kiskadee. I had heard this bird on my previous visit but hadn't managed to see it. This time both Dee and I got looks at it and I even got a (not very good) photo.

If birds were scarcer than usual, other wildlife was not. This little chap popped up right in front of us.

Two of the ponds each had an alligator.

When we passed one pond, Dee noticed that a broad-banded water snake was resting on a log. 

When we passed the spot a little later, we saw it had been joined by a larger relative.

I'm not sure how many red-eared sliders we came across but this was the handsomest of all the ones we saw. 

When we leave Texas for Spain this summer, I'm afraid that birds won't be the only wildlife that I'll miss!


Marilyn Kircus said...

I usually mostly visit this park by canoe. In the spring it is always especially exciting. I hope we can once again paddle up Carpenter Creek. The last time I was there, it was full of giant salvinia and water hyacinth and was impassable. So it was interesting to see the birds from land. Thanks for posting.

Jeff said...

There's a lot more open water at Carpenter's Bayou than there has been for several years.