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Posts Tagged ‘pat bean postaday’

 “As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.” Stephen Graham, “The Gentle Art of tramping.”

Black vultures claimed the deck that jutted into Creekfield Lake -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Come. Take a walk with me around Creekfield Lake at Brazos Bend State Park. Bring your binoculars and camera.

It’s a cool, gray morning here at the park, where Maggie and I are spending a couple of days to hike and bird-watch.

The walk begins, continues and ends with cawing crows and dee-dee-deeing chickadees providing background music. Their not unpleasant cacophony is occasionally punctuated by the rat-a-tat-tat of a downy woodpecker.

I was surprised at how close this great blue heron let me get before it flew off. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I was surprised at how close this great blue heron let me get before it flew off. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The robins, titmouses, warblers and mockingbirds also occasionally add a note or two to the melody.

There’s a sign at the beginning of the loop around the lake that says “Don’t feed or molest the alligators.” You can be assured I won’t. I hope someone told the alligators not to molest the hikers. At least Maggie wouldn’t be their dinner. I left her back in the RV after taking her for an earlier morning walk.

Near the swampy, dark-water shore, three white-ibis are feeding. In deeper water, common moorhens are holding a large meeting, their shrill, screeching making it sound as if a dispute is going on.

But by far the most numerous bird I see this day is the black vulture. They have claimed a small island in the lake, many trees, a deck that juts into the water, the top of the park observatory and even the paved trail. They wait until I am almost upon them before they move, then only reluctantly and only to the closest tree, where they sit and watch me pass beneath them.

It’s a bit eerie, but not discomforting. I know they prefer dead things for dinner and I am very much alive.

That the vultures didn’t budge until I was almost upon them didn’t surprise me. The lone great blue heron that let me get closer than normal before flying off did surprise me. They usually fly at the first appearance of a human.

I had the trail to myself, and I was constantly lingering to look about at everything about me, the lingering red leaf, the mushrooms growing on a fallen tree, the feather floating in the water.

A small bench nicely situated beneath a large live-oak tree beckons to me. I sit and soon am being entertained by a small flock of bluebirds that just happen to be passing by. When they move on, I get up to follow. The bluebirds stick together in male and female pairs and I decide they are courting. As I watch a crow flies to a nearby tree with a stick in its beak. I assume it’s for starting a nest.

All too soon, I’ve completed the walk around the lake. What a great morning.

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