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Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, March 21, 2014

A visit to the Wallisville Lake Project

Yesterday afternoon, Barry and Lynn and I drove over to the COE Wallisville Lake Project.  There are more than 23,000 acres covered by this project.  Since it’s the COE, you know there’s a dam involved.  The Trinity River is dammed to prevent tidal salt water from moving up the Trinity River.  I have driven past this area many many times as I’ve traversed I-10 for various reasons, but just never stopped to enjoy it. 

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Our main objective was to check out the Trinity River Waterbird Rookery.  Since spring has sprung, we wanted to see if any nesting activity has begun.  There is a parking area and this nice board walk out to an overlook of the rookery.  Hard to see in this pic, but just after the bridge there’s something other than a bird under the boardwalk.

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Can you see the nutria grooming itself by the right most pylon?  There are a couple of white ibis and a bunch of blue-winged teal in front of it.  Nutria are an invasive species here, and remind me of giant muskrats.

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As we approached the overlook, Lynn was busy eyeing all the nesting birds.  All those dots in the cypress trees in the background are egrets, herons, ibis, and spoonbills setting up housekeeping.

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It was a warm and bright day yesterday, and we were facing right into the afternoon sun.  That doesn’t make for great photos for sure.  Since it isn’t that far from Anahuac, I think I’ll be visiting again some sunny morning so the sun is at my back. 

Oddly enough, for me, I didn’t automatically estimate how many birds were there, but there were a lot!  Must have been the fact that all my blood had gone to my stomach to digest the farewell luncheon we attended just before coming here.  Six of our RV volunteers will be pulling out in the next week or so, and the luncheon at Napolito’s Tex/Mex Restaurant was in their honor.

Today, I headed in to headquarters to work on getting all the Environmental Education materials organized.  April is when all the local school districts start sending their kids here for a day on the refuge.  We have different programs for each grade from kindergarten through fifth grade.  There are lots of materials involved, and another volunteer and I went through them all to make sure everything was in its proper container and ready for the coming season.  We made a list of missing items.  I’m a person that would rather be prepared than wait until the last minute and panic when stuff is missing.

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Afterwards, I headed for the refuge to have my tailgate lunch.  I thought maybe this Krider’s red-tailed hawk would sit and pose for me. 

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Ha!  Not for long.  I was lucky to get this shot of its leaving.  Usually I just get a picture of the sky. Disappointed smile

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I leave you tonight with a wonderfully camouflaged young alligator.  I can’t forget I’m in Anahuac, you know, the alligator capitol of Texas!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

23 comments:

  1. With those wonderfully camouflaged gators, you have to keep not just an eye on the birds but an eye where you walk. I bet the gators would say you taste like chicken... ;c)

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  2. Oh, I LIKE that rookery! So much to see... and hear. I'll have to put that place on my list of "to see"s.

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  3. So do they try to get rid of the nutria? I've just about given up on trying to get any bird pictures - sky pictures get real boring. Amazing how that alligator just blends in with all the other wood stuff.

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  4. I remember you mentions this COE campground to us in case we got back to Texas....sigh...not this year, but I am sure we will return to Texas someday. In the mean time, maybe you will show up at an Oregon refuge and I can come and learn birds there with you> Sure enjoyed you, Judy.

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  5. Oh sigh Nutria. They are moving up the east coast apparently. Fabulous Hawk picture. Flying no less. I too always have pictures of the sky. Does the Trinity River not have salt in its natural state? Or did the COE decide it shouldn't have it?

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  6. I did a double take when you mentioned the Trinity River. A google search produced two Trinity Rivers - one is a tributary of the Klamath and is in CA, but there is also a Trinity River whose waters are contained within the state of Texas. I'm surprised, but glad to learn something new.

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  7. I am very impressed with what you all do... I hope when me and mine retire we are able to do the very same.

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  8. So it was YOU who took all the birds from Charleston! LOL Didn't get a picture of anything other than sea gulls and pelicans. Saw a big greyish blue very stately bird--I know I've seen them on your site. I think I must give off an alarm as soon as I get my camera out.

    As always, great picture of the alligator.

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  9. Nutria remind me of big rats- for some reason they creep me out. Great pictures of the hawk

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  10. I've never seen a nutria. Love the hawk pictures even though it didn't cooperate.

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  11. Never heard of a Nutria. Great gator pics!

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  12. I already liked that photo of the trees reflected in the water...then to realize all those birds were in there! We have a rookery too, about 40 min south, of blue herons and others. Need to get myself down there. Especially love to watch it when the young are teenagers and starting to think about maybe trying out that flying thing.

    Good to know Emma is a stick dog too. :)

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  13. I saw the nutria but thought it was a beaver. I never even heard of the word nutria before. I had to look it up. I like the word nutria much better than river rat.

    Awesome photo of the hawk and gator!

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  14. The rookery is great! Did you find it noisy with all the birds talking?

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  15. The nutria is creepy...like a troll under the bridge...Billy Goats Gruff (let's see how many remember that one, eh Judy?)

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  16. The nutria is new to me too! I remember The Three Billy Goats Gruff. And yes, I agree with Donna.

    When we were visited Madera Canyon last Thursday, we found out its school day.....the volunteers were busy with 4 th graders! It was very informative as we walked past the groups.

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  17. You're so wise to prepare for the school presentations! The alligator is perfectly hidden. We don't have nutrias here--hope we never do. Gypsy, I thought of our west Coast Trinity River too! So cool to see all the birds nesting! Thank you for another great tour!

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  18. Great hawk pictures.... I had no idea the Trinity River had a rookery... At one time, the powers that be wanted to open up the river for riverboat traffic. I lived in Dallas at the time and asked where the river was. I was told I went over it everyday ... huh? thought the damn thing was a drainage ditch ...

    very pretty out your way ... I never

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  19. Leonard talks about Nutrias. I've never seen on "in person" if that is the correct term! We are currently at a COE park in Benbrook, TX. Don't you just love them?

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  20. I need to seriously think about visiting this refuge next winter....:)

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  21. Of course I remember Billy Goats Gruff -- shoot, I might even have the copy I used to read to my son (used to scare him!). Nutrias, with their big orange front teeth, are UGLY. That hawk is, however, BEAUTIFUL. :-)

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  22. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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