Horny Owls, Beaver Surprise

One quick trip out to Brazos Bend is all that’s needed to grease the skids for a weekend of birding.  After school, I cooked an early dinner, packed up a picnic basket, loaded the birding paraphernalia, and waited for the kids to get off the bus.  We skipped homework — YEAH!! — and headed south for a nature hike at dusk.

Birding at Dusk
Birding at Dusk

There isn’t much here that we haven’t already logged, but rumors of some Great Horned owlets had our antennae on high alert.  After dinner, we hiked out around “Gator Pond,” as the kids like to call it.  It was peaceful, quiet except for the bull frogs and Cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds.  Those guys can sure make a racket.  So can my kids, far up ahead of me.

Birding Effect is the term coined by John for any species of bird you have wanted desperately to see for the longest time, seeing it finally, and then seeing it everywhere you go from then on out.  This was certainly the case with the Purple Gallinule, Green Heron, and Black-crowned Night Heron, and Little Blue Heron this day.

But mostly gators.  Lots of gators.

Big gators
Small gators
Short gators
Tall gators

(Sorry, it rhymed.)

Gator on the Hunt...for Me?
Gator on the Hunt…for Me?
Little Gator
Little Gator

For the first time in several months, though, the kids spotted a Texas Beaver — yes, flat tail and no, not a nutria — in the canal, just a few feet away.  It was an exciting moment for all but Mom who was down the path taking photos of a bull frog.  Drat the timing.

We watched a White-breasted Nuthatch pop in and out of a hole in a log and Angie and I spotted a Pyrrhuloxia just four to five feet in front of us.  I had to hear its song to be convinced it was what I was seeing.  At the end of the hike, we heard the tell-tale call of a cajillion-and-one American Crows hounding some poor fella.  Great Horned Owl!  Angie and I immediately thought the same thing and sprinted post haste to the location.

Score!  Not one, but two of the three Great-horned Owlets.  The crows wanted them to go away; we, of course, wanted them to stay just a bit longer.

A Blurry Great-horned Owl
A Blurry Great-horned Owl
Super Girl!
Super Girl!

Dusk is a great time to go birding.  The lighting is fab, the people-traffic is light, and the birds are busy at it oblivious of us.  All I need now is a long lens to make it complete.

And I am hounding Mr. Dirt like crows on owls.  I am almost.  There.   Better get one before the Spring Migration.

Brazos Bend Sunset
Brazos Bend Sunset

* * *

See ya later, Alligators.

Next post:  Lafitte’s Cove.  What a magical day of birding!

9 thoughts on “Horny Owls, Beaver Surprise

    1. I love re-reading old posts. I was still using the 180mm zoom for these photos; I DID finally get that long lens months later after first saving the funds, then waiting for one to arrive in stock. Can’t wait until spring to put it to use in this place, Brazos Bend — my favorite of our parks.

      Liked by 1 person

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