Posts Tagged ‘Lake Arrowhead state park’

 “The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense his life … The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds – how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday lives – and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!” – John Burroughs

Delightful, Colorful, Awesome Birds

Great blue heron at Lake Arrowhead State Park -- Photo by Pat Bean

From the Bullock oriole’s flash of bright orange feathers as it flew across my path to the Canada geese that strutted down to the lake, birds were constantly making their presence known during my visit to Texas’ Lake Arrowhead State Park.

For an avid birder like myself, it was better than my favorite Jack-in-the-Box chocolate milkshake high — and came without the calories.

Mockingbirds were plentiful, making my mind play tricks on me when I saw one that didn’t quite fit in. I was thinking it might have been a tropical mockingbird, but then this quite-out-of-place species was on my mind from reports of one of them being seen in Texas’ Sabine Woods. I certainly wasn’t sure enough of my find to add it to my life list of birds.

Canada geese strutted across the manicured lawn near the fishing pier, making it easy to photograph them. I wish I had been able to capture the flock that had honked their way overhead earlier in the morning. But as I remind people often, I'm a writer not a photographer, and the only camera I own is a pocket Canon point and shoot. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I saw a great blue heron at the fish-cleaning station near the park’s fishing pier, but before I could get a picture,  it flew away. It landed in the lake on the opposite side of the pier and began fishing for its breakfast.

When I looked at it through my binoculars at it,  I saw a dozen or so spotted sandpipers cruising the shoreline in front of it, and a yellowlegs a bit farther out in the water. It had to have been a lesser yellowlegs because it was too close in size to the sandpipers to be a greater.

As I continued to watch the sandpipers, a red-winged blackbird flew in beside them. Its shoulder epaulets were so brilliantly red that they made my heart skip a beat.

Grackles, robins, snowy and great egrets, swallows (cave, I think), killdeer, scissor-tailed flycatchers and circling turkey vultures were among the many other birds at the park that I saw.

While I suspect the park is mostly favored by fishermen, it’s now on this birders list of favorite places, too.

Bean’s Pat: Trees for Arbor Day http://tinyurl.com/crhxqtu For tree huggers like me, a slide show from the National Wildlife Federation.

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Purple gem

Abandoned bee or wasp’s nest
Cactus buds
Onion family plant, perhaps.
Thistle blossoms — Photo by Pat Bean

“The woods are lovely dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep…” — Robert Frost

Travels With Maggie

I wanted to show you pictures yesterday of all the tidbits Mother Nature showed me on my walk through the mesquite grove at Lake Arrowhead State Park. WordPress, however, was being ornery and wouldn’t cooperate.

So since I want to get an early start on the road today so I can put some miles behind me and have a day to sit, since I must be in Zion National Park on the 29th, I thought I would simply show you those things today as my blog offering.

P.S. WordPress, by the way, is still being ornery. It wouldn’t let me place the pictures where I wanted them in my blog.

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An early morning walk through a honey mesquite grove is full of surprises. — Photos by Pat Bean

 “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.” Chinese proverb

Travels With Maggie

I had barely stepped onto the trail before I heard a sort of screeching sound, which had me looking for a bird as its most likely source. I soon realized I was wrong.

It was the trees creaking with the wind. And this nature trail I was following was simply a mesquite grove with little else going for it, I concluded. Wrong again.

Just about the same time I decided the talking trees weren’t really all that eerie, I began seeing other bits of nature sharing the mesquite tree grove.

Cactus coming to life after the winter, purple thistle dotting the landscape, and numerous other plants that sadly I didn’t have a name for.

It was a short trail that ended way too soon.

The photos I took along the way, meanwhile, will remind me not to draw conclusions before seeing the evidence.

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 Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be … Close your eyes and let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.” Erich Fromm

Lake Arrowhead fishing pier -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

It was a helaciously windy drive on this first day of my journey to Idaho for the summer, but the splendidly colorful buttercups that brightened the roadside cheered me up.

I was even welcomed with bluebonnets when I hit Lake Arrowhead State Park just about 15 miles outside of Wichita Falls and 150 miles from my journey’s beginning in Rowlett. It’s the first of several public campgrounds I plan to hit as I slowly hop West and North to escape summer’s heat.

Since it’s now 92 degrees outside, I would say I’m escaping just in time.

Black-tailed prairie dogs call Lake Arrowhead State Park home. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I took Maggie on a short walk as soon as I hooked up, then afterward went on a quick bike ride to snap a few pictures for the blog. I’ll go again when it cools off but for now I’m vegging in air-conditioned comfort in my RV.

Maggie, meanwhile, is in her favorite spot, sprawled out on our over-the-cab bed directly in front of the air-conditioning vent.

Lake Arrowhead is a reservoir on the Little Wichita River that supplies water to Wichita Falls’ residents and recreational opportunities, especially fishing, for visitors. It’s pretty all right for birders, too.

I saw my first of the year scissor-tailed flycatcher just as I drove past the entrance and other birds everywhere including, great blue herons, great egrets, mockingbirds, red-bellied woodpecker, mockingbirds, coots, Canada geese, great-tailed grackles (including a pair mating), barn swallows, red-winged blackbirds and killdeer within 15 minutes of arriving.

Life is good.

P.S. If you’re in the Wichita Falls area May 13-14, and enjoy 1800s history, drop by for the park’s Buffalo Soldier Encampment.

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