Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brazos Bend ~ The Final Installment

We went back to 40 Acre lake late in the evening. Since it was such a great place for our sunrise pictures we were hoping if we moved to the other side of the lake we could get some good sunset pictures as well.

The wildlife was actually fairly active, even though it was still quite warm and humid. I felt pretty lucky to spot another Purple Gallinule along the path. Bill had told us this morning that this particular bird is fairly common in the park only in the summer months. I sure wanted to get a good picture of his coloration! He kept trying to foil my efforts by staying mostly in the grasses along the path and hiding from me!

I was hoping the Gallinule would come out of the grass and get a little closer so I could get a better shot. As I was following him with my camera I spotted this brown bird sitting on the branch of a tree.

Since I wasn't having any luck getting a closer shot of the Purple Gallinule I thought I'd try for a better shot of the brown bird on the branch. Turns out that brown bird is a Black Bellied Whistling Duck.

After getting the shot of the duck I turned back to see if I could get a better picture of the Purple Gallinule. I was definitely rewarded for waiting around!

To be perfectly honest, I don't remember this at all, but I like the shot so I'm putting it in here. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Once again we were fortunate to see an alligator along the side of the road sunning himself.

As I stood waiting for the sunning gator to make a move of some kind I heard a major commotion behind me. Another alligator had found a nice snack. They glide near the shorline and wait patiently for the crawfish to come out of their holes, then they snap them up. The "snapping" is quite loud and can be disconcerting if it is behind your back! I turned and snapped this picture of him chowing down on his crawfish catch!

Still laughing about the adrenaline rush of having an Alligator snap up a crawfish right behind us we went back to the spillway and around the trail. I noticed a small movement along the side of the trail and we were greeted with a sight I'D never seen before. A mother Box Turtle laying her eggs! It was amazing to watch. I wondered if this was the same turtle we had seen early that morning.

We left the turtle behind and continued up the trail towards the forested area. I noticed this Anhinga drying his wings.

As I turned back to the path I noticed a bird standing along the shoreline and thought I would sneak up on him very quietly and get a shot. No such luck. I would start getting close and he would walk a little ways down the path and stop. I would sneak up and get close and he would walk a ways down the path and stop. We continued this until I heard laughing behind me and turned around to see Rick taking pictures of me stalking this bird ~ I have to admit, it WAS pretty funny! This is the shot I ended up with.

As we turned around to head back the way we had come we came to a break the trees surrounding the marsh. This Blue Heron seemed to pose for a long time. I think he likes having his picture taken!

We walked back to the Observation Tower and climbed the stairs to wait for the sunset. I'd say it was worth the wait...wouldn't you?

Even though we did get up early on Sunday, there wasn't enough light for my camera to get any more sunrise shots...the humidity/fog was down, and the animals weren't very active. We walked a little and Rick got some great shots but we were all ready to pack up, go get some good breakfast food, and get back on the long road home knowing we would have to return in another season!

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