Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hagerman NWR: May 2015

The weather forecast this week has not been conducive to getting out and taking pictures. I took advantage of what looked like a break in the steady rain to go back to Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge this morning, where I'd had such an enjoyable visit last month. Even with overcast skies, I was still looking forward to hopefully shooting pelicans, egrets and herons again.

What's that line about "the best laid plans"?

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
Something I did not count on at all -- and in hindsight, really should have expected -- was how swollen Lake Texoma has gotten.  Between all the rain we've gotten and the release of water from upstream, the road that runs through the refuge currently extends roughly 100 yards from the turn to the visitor center.  The water level in the lake is apparently more than 12 feet above full.

This is the literal end of the road right now, and the water level is expected to get even higher with additional rain all week.  A volunteer at the visitor center said the shore birds are just lost right now.  The shore isn't at all where they expect it to be.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
Still, I didn't drive 70 miles just to take a picture of some wooden barricades.  I trudged into the meadow off the road to isolate a tree that for the moment is still above water.

Harris Creek Trail, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
This is Harris Creek Trail, which is not actually supposed to be for kayaks.

Dickcissel, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
I think I shot my first dickcissel, who wasn't letting the weather get him down.  The 10-year-old boy in me will always snicker at that name.

Eastern Meadowlark, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
I didn't see many wildflowers.  But as I said, most of the refuge is under water.  There were a few of these large specimens, which I've struggled to identify.  Sandwort, maybe?

Red-winged Blackbird, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
I made a half-hearted attempt to hike to an area that had some egret activity.  But I eventually thought better of making the trek, knowing that the egrets here are too skittish to stay settled for a photo, and just headed back to my car after capturing a slightly bedraggled lady red-winged blackbird.

Flycatcher, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
As a light rain began to fall I kept a close eye on the fences, hoping to see someone perched.  I managed to spot this flycatcher that way ...

Sparrow, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
... and this accommodating little fellow, who I believe to be some sort of sparrow but will need some help from iNaturalist to get more specific.

Not the trip I was hoping for, but I was able to make at least some lemonade out of the day!

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