First, on August 14 there was a post on TEXBIRDS by Rick Folening in Holliday that he had spotted (and photographed) a black-bellied whistling duck at Sikes Lake. He took some really good pictures. Since he gave the link to the photos on TEXBIRDS, I am sharing the link here, so others can also see the bird. I had to go out of town, but on the 17th I went to Sikes Lake, and there it was. I have seen black-bellied whistling ducks in Wichita County before, but only once. The checklist of the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club shows a few isolated sightings over the summer, but indicates this is an accidental species for the area. I did not get any good pictures of the bird, just a picture of my foot the day after--I stepped in a bed of fire ants while I was looking through my binoculars at the duck. Typical. But at least I didn't almost step on a rattle snake while absorbed in a bird (it has happened.)
|Fire ant bites--watch where you put your feet!|
The herons and egrets can stand in the water across the entire lake at that end. It is still a little too deep closer to the dam. It was nice to go out to the lake and see some mist from the recent rains. In spite of a couple of inches the last few days, runoff has been minimal--the ground is just too dry. We do have a chance for more rain this week, so perhaps we'll start seeing a little rise in the lake levels.
I did go out to Lake Buffalo on Saturday with some of my Texas Master Naturalist friends to do a mussel watch at Lake Gordon and Buffalo Creek Reservoir (Lake Buffalo.) They too, are way down. Lake Buffalo, especially. However, we did have an excellent morning for mussels. I also saw hundreds of egrets (great and snowy) at Lake Buffalo along with a group of 5 American avocets, a black-necked stilt and a spotted sandpiper.
Overall, some good birding for this time of year. Shorebird migration is in full swing, so get out and see what you can find.