Monday, June 06, 2011

Texas - Sam Rayburn Reservoir/Angelina State Forest - Saturday 28 May 2011

And so to our second holiday of the year. We had originally (extensively) planned a trip taking us around in a large circle starting at Oklahoma City, through Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and back to Oklahoma City. However the tornado season proved to be significantly worse than usual, killing more than 500 people, and our planned route took us through the middle of the area. Some lobbying by family (thank you Alison) also pushed us towards a rethink. So with one day to go before flying to Dallas I dusted off plans for an April (migration) trip along the Texas Coast and we set-off.

On the flight over with American Airlines one of the crew saw us working through our Texas Coastal Birding Trail and, having chatted to us about our plans, strongly recommended we include a visit to Big Bend National Park. We were hesitant due primarily to the distances we'd have to cover to do so but said we'd give it a try during the week.

I booked us a hotel for the night close to Dallas airport using Hotwire so Saturday morning we started bright and early as we left the hotel at 04:48 local.

Our first destination of the road trip was the Sam Rayburn Reservoir and in fact the Angelina State Forest section. Four hours of driving later and we arrived, setting out to explore. The woods were reasonably quiet except for one patch where we encountered some life, including our only sighting of an Indigo Bunting:

A Little Blue Heron settled in a tree above the trail:

Ever popular, with us at least, a Northern Cardinal:

Our first woodpecker of the trip, a Red-bellied Woodpecker:

This tree lizard blew out its throat, which was orange in colour, I managed to not be pointing my camera at it at the time, still an interesting beastie though:

Having spent around an hour and enjoyed the heat of a Texan Spring we decided to try out a few other local spots, without luck, so it was time to head down to the coast as we'd identified a couple of National Wildlife Refuges we wanted to visit.

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