Species seen 20.
Possible severe weather warnings for today’s exploring kept us within 40m miles of the apartment. Like the local Houstonians we’ve followed the Weather Channel on TV every day for updates of possible hurricanes, flash flooding and lightening warnings. We managed to visit Brazos Bend State Park before the rain started late in the afternoon.
Upon arriving a visit to the visitors centre was very interesting as they had live reptiles on show which included the two snakes that in Texas are to be avoided (Texas Coral and Copperhead). An exhibition on Alligators and what to do if you come across one proved invaluable later in the afternoon.
Leaving the centre we ventured out in to the park and walked a mile around a small lake, here were, Great White, Little and Snowy Egrets, White Ibis, Little Blue, Green, Tricolour, Great Blue Heron. Black Bellied Whistling Ducks and Moorhens had chicks in tow. American Coot is not so plentiful here as I only managed three in the whole park.
Walking through woodland gave up Downy Woodpecker, Common Grackle and Field Sparrow. Upon walking in the open park the sky above had five Turkey Vultures circling on thermals. A look at the surrounding tree tops also produced two Black Vultures.
As we approached a lily covered swamp many of the birds were very easy to spot, Wood Duck and Moorhen on the water, Little Egret, Tricoloured and Green Heron on the lily pads. Anhinga, Cormorant and White Ibis were all perched within the swamp trees. However lurking within the lilies were young alligators two were seen briefly before we moved off to walk around the large lake. Along the way were American Crow and a great many Common Grackles. Feeding on the grass were Fox Squirrels and Cattle Egrets patrolled the area looking out of sorts. While walking around the lake there was a small creek running parallel for about a quarter of a mile on one side, this was covered in vegetation with Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, Little Egrets and Moorhens, suddenly a huge splash and crash had me jumping out of my skin as a young Alligator jumped forward from under the lily pads towards one of the ducks, it missed and the duck didn’t become lunch for this small Gator.
Walking further and still a little twitchy due to the recent fright from the small gator, we noticed the bushes moving and from within in what appeared to be slow motion, a huge Alligator appeared and walked towards where we were! All the gators seen so far on this trip have been no longer that six feet long, the full adult was a lot bigger and this one may have been at least eight to nine feet long?
After the encounter trying to keep focused on the birds was almost impossible as my thoughts were very much on perhaps meeting another big gator!
A fantastic day and one I’ll not forget in a hurry.