I had a weird schedule yesterday and didn’t have any good period of time to go out looking for birds. I won’t get into it but after Sunday’s “Oh, those are birds,” day and yesterday not getting out, I wanted to get some good pics today. I headed out to the Suter Wildlife Refuge which has given me great opportunities for pictures in the past. (Well except for the most recent Christmas day but let’s not get into that. I was pleased with the chances today. I did try to take some pics of birds as they flew, but those didn’t come out well. It does keep me learning, though.
The Suter Wildlife Refuge is set up with a boardwalk out to a viewing area along the water. The first bit of water you see is an inlet that the electric company uses for cooling (I think.) The first bird I saw was a Great Blue Heron. I do enjoy the big birds. They are so much easier to get a good picture of. The little birds flit around all the time and won’t sit still for me. But the big birds, the royalty of the bird family, if they acknowledge you, it’s with a glare that lets you know that your presence may be tolerated. (If they fly away, it wasn’t.) Later I saw a second Great Blue Heron grooming himself and showing, by example, how all distinguished gentlemen should groom. (I did have problems getting my head upside down…)
A common sight in that inlet are the coots. I wouldn’t normally include this picture but, if I read it correctly when shooting, it was eating, and I always like to get pics of the birds eating. This one was eating his salad with algae dressing, I believe.
Then, I saw the bird that made the whole trip worthwhile to me. A black crowned night heron was sitting on the branches on the other side of the inlet. A few years ago, I had gotten pictures of a yellow crowned night heron, but hadn’t seen a black crowned one. They’re a little smaller than most of the other herons based on my unscientific observations, but they’re beautiful birds. I joined another man who was enjoying his view of the bird. We talked after it flew away. The pictures I got of it flying were blurry.
Downstream about ten yards from the heron was a Great Egret. Egrets fit in well as members of the royalty. Slow, deliberate, and stately they go about their hunting without acknowledging our human presence.
When you get to the observation area, you’ll generally see two groupings of birds. I’m guessing it’s because of sand bars, but I don’t know. Today, northern shovelers were up close and gulls, with a few terns possibly, were a little farther out. Then, past these two groups you’ll see pelicans, herons, and egrets. Straight ahead and to the right the birds tend to be individuals instead of in flocks, at least smaller groups. I didn’t get a good picture, but I was able to tell from the blurs that some black necked stilts were enjoying the day. The picture, based on my research on google images is of a greater sand plover who was running through the shallow surf looking for food.
There are a few trails on the other side of the parking area that I usually take, but I was on a short time period today, so I headed home. I stopped at our local grocery store (HEB) and while there in the parking lot, I saw this female grackle wandering around the cars. All I can say is that you gotta love the eyes!
I enjoyed the day so much today that it made up for two off days. I love seeing the beauty and variety in nature. I can’t help but see God’s hand and design in all of these amazing creatures,