Several year ago, we were camping at Brazos Bend State Park, south of Houston, where there were lots of birds but also lots of big alligators. It was later in the year and the guys would bellow their mating calls and they all hung out on the banks, and even the trails. I recall whipping around a corner on my bike and skidding to a stop (with the dog attached) as a big ‘gator blocked my way. I decided that the long way home was the smart route.
I thought that they were sort of cool but Mary really disliked them, and the park. She was talking to a ranger one day about them when he said, "Ma’am, they only go after the old and the slow!" Moi?
It was like "Take a number, gator, some not-so-spry food is on the way." We’ll never go back there.
So, that’s been a running (excuse the pun) joke with us ever since. And I thought about it the other day when I encountered this sign at Alligator Lake at Estero Llano Grande State Park.
It is mid-January and I figured everything was dormant until our group came to an opening and across the water was this big guy/gal enjoying the sunshine. Our guide explained that they hardly move this time of year but come Spring when the gators get active, the Yellow-crowned Night Herons and others that roost there vacate to other gator-free ponds in the park to nest.
The night-heron was my ninth life bird of the trip so far. I have missed a couple that Mary saw but we have a few days left here.
World Life List
1 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Estero Llano Grande SP WBC (LTC 054) US-TX 15 Jan 2014
2 Sora Estero Llano Grande SP WBC (LTC 054) US-TX 15 Jan 2014
3 Tropical Kingbird Estero Llano Grande SP WBC (LTC 054) US-TX 15 Jan 2014
4 Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet Bentsen-Rio Grande Val. SP WBC (Mission) US-TX 12 Jan 2014
5 Least Grebe Edinburg Scenic Wetlands WBC (LTC 061) US-TX 10 Jan 2014
6 Black Phoebe Bentsen-Rio Grande Val. SP WBC (Mission) (LTC 069) US-TX 08 Jan 2014
7 Green Parakeet Americana RV Park US-TX 07 Jan 2014
8 White-tailed Hawk 26.4828x-98.3865 – Jan 6, 2014, 12:48 PM US-TX 06 Jan 2014
9 Horned Lark 26.4828x-98.3865 – Jan 6, 2014, 12:48 PM
I have 109 birds in the County so far and am aiming for 115. It’s no wonder birders flock to the Valley.