The day after we got back from Missouri we had our first real rain since last summer. The next morning I went out to Spring Canyon to see if there was anything interesting down there. While we were in Missouri an itinerant birder had posted on eBird that he had heard a Black Rail and a Wilson’s Snipe in the reed beds there and, as these were two birds not on my life list, I wanted to try and see, or at least hear, them myself. I’ve heard a Virginia Rail down there before, but have been unable to get a look at him-the wetlands are pretty difficult to navigate, and though it is a little early to worry to much about rattlers, there are feral pigs out there and those things are evil.
I didn’t hear either of the birds (a pretty common theme of my birding career) but I did enjoy one of the rarest of things in the Texas Panhandle, a windless day. I got out pretty early and the ponds were mirror-still. the rain the night before had deepened the colors of the dried reeds and the red cliffs of the canyon, and washed the dist off of everything else, so that the colors reflecting off of the water were very intense.
I took a series of photos of a lingering Common Merganser and a Common Loon, both of which are very unusual for this time of year (and both drop-dead gorgeous in thier breeding plumage, something we don’t always get to see here). There was also a little Eared Grebe fishing near the shallow end of the largest pond. I liked how the colors change as the birds swam and the angles between me, the birds, the sun, and the backgrounds varied. Often a few seconds between shots change the whole photo.
Hope you enjoy the pictures.