Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Texas - Brazos Bend State Park - Sunday 29 May 2011

Sunday morning saw us head first inland to Brazos State Park, one of our favourite places on the trip and a genuine refuge as no hunting is allowed in the park and it really does tell. It was like walking into an oasis of life with squirrels, ducks and other wildlife quite abundant. It's a shame that such small pockets of life are all that remains however it's also excellent that there are safe places for wildlife to be.

Our first new species of what turned out to be a really good morning's birding, were Fulvous Whistling-Duck, a pair on one of the ponds:

Overhead a flying Roseate Spoonbill:

With Turkey Vulture riding the early thermals:

All around the park we saw Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, I can't make up mind which picture of these I prefer:

My number one target species for the holiday and the way our plans had changed and were now looking, our last chance to see was, the Prothonotary Warbler, having come close to a vagrant at Ipswich River Audubon, MA, a couple of years back. A local birder kindly showed us the best site and we weren't disappointed:

Alongside one pond a Pileated Woodpecker was emerging from its nest hole, here at the extreme southern edge of its range:

A favourite marsh bird for us is the Little Blue Heron:

I just caught this sequence of a Great White Egret catching a small fish:

The only Bluebird of our holiday was this Eastern Bluebird:

Another species of Whistling Duck, this the Black-bellied Whistling Duck:

and in flight:

A bird we've seen once before, in the Everglades, was also reasonably common in the park, the Anhinga:

I caught one in the early morning light, coming in to land:

And of course there are alligators, lots of em:

This chap, who crossed the path right in front of us, only had three legs but seemed otherwise healthy. I was too close to capture any more to show:

Brazos almost had the feel of an Audubon Sanctuary apart from the number of people walking around, barbecuing, etc. We really enjoyed it and long may such sanctuaries remain safe havens.

Next up it's back to the coast and the journey south continues...

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