I drove out to Spring Canyon Sunday morning when I got off work. Just as I was descending into the canyon it started to rain, so I sat in my truck by the main pond and watched. It rained for about 20 minutes before stopping, although it remained cloudy for the rest of the morning. I wandered around the different ponds for a couple of hours and took a few photos, but mostly I just enjoyed the cool, wet air–a rare treat in the Texas Panhandle. Spring Canyon is actually the Canadian River bed just below the Sanford-Yake Dam that forms Lake Meredith. The river bed below the dam is dry for the most part, but there are numerous areas that are marshy and this is one of them. There are several good sized ponds and sloughs, four of which are pretty easily accessed, and the entire area is overgrown with cattails, except for a an area around the main pond, which has been developed into a swimming and picnic area. It’s a pretty good area to bird in the mornings because the wind is light and the light is good.
Here’s some birds that were enjoying the morning as well.
A White-winged Dove
A Mississippi Kite drying out after the rain.
A Great Blue Heron in one of the smaller ponds against a backdrop of cattails.
For those of you that don’t live in Texas here’s a little perspective on the 20 year drought. In this picture, standing on the bluffs at Fritch Fortress facing west, all of the flat, green areas were covered with water in the mid-90s. Lake Meredith has dropped about 60 feet at the dam over the last couple of decades. A large part of the problem is the drought. On top of that there are two more dams upstream in New Mexico, and they catch all the spring runoff from the mountains that used to feed the Canadian River. The lake is now about a quarter of it’s original size.
Visit the galleries for more birds.