Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

reserve day

dark-eyed junco, Towne Lake Park, McKinney, Texas 2 8 2014

This morning I woke very early and got some paperwork done. I left the house at 7:45 a.m., drove to the post office to mail a letter, and hit the road north.

I drove 55 minutes north to Hagerman National Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is a huge
largely open area adjacent to a lake-fed wetlands. The water is way down due to drought, and much of the water still there was frozen over this morning.

The morning was right at freezing, 0 degrees Celsius, and the sky was overcast. I drove the little park roads, seeing red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, northern harriers, eastern meadowlarks, sparrows, a bluebird, a red-winged blackbird, a downy woodpecker, and lots of American coots. I did not see the hordes of snow geese for which the park is famous. I suspect that they were on one of the more remote bits of lake. I did not see a bald eagle, though they are a possible Winter sighting. I suspect they were monitoring the geese. But I had a good time.

At 10 a.m., a ranger gave a talk about the eastern bluebird. She gave lots of good, practical information. Volunteers support nest boxes. This program has generated some 400 new blue birds in a 3 year span. It's cool--each volunteer gets a weekly photo as the eggs are laid and the young hatch, up until they fledge. I counted 40something attendees, which was really good on such a chilly, dreary day. Then I drove around, and walked a little on Crow Hill Trail until it proved too muddy.

I like Hagerman NWR because it is filled with wildlife. From the visitor center, I saw a coyote walking, a handsome young fellow. I did not get a good picture.

I drove back toward town, stopping at Subway Sandwich Shop for lunch in Van Alstyne. Then I stopped by Towne Lake Park to get more exercise. I saw lots of ring-billed gulls, a tufted titmouse, lots of dark-eyed juncoes, lots of mallards, a few yellow-rumped warblers, a female cardinal, and various other birds. I took my best pictures of the day there, of the dark-eyed junco above.

The sun came out. The temperature instantly jumped 12 degrees Fahrenheit. When I got home,
my dog wanted a walk. I was delighted to take her--she has her doggy door, but in the frozen weather she had the canine equivalent of cabin fever. During that walk, I got some pretty good pictures of a yellow-rumped warbler. I rarely get good pictures of those, as they are quite lively.

This evening we went to Wasabi for sushi. I had an eel (unagi) roll and a salmon roll, as well as some sushi made with chicken (Tyson, it's called, after a local "brand" of chicken).
I am glad to be home after a full day.

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