Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hagerman NWR: April 2016

I was long overdue for a return trip to Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. So yesterday, I took one. Huzzah for the flexible work schedule of a substitute teacher!

American White Pelican, Hagerman NWR
Conditions were pretty windy, which may have been the cause of the lake water being a muddy brown.  Whatever the reason, it was not an attractive color.  So I converted this shot of an American White Pelican in flight to black and white.

Baird's Sandpiper, Hagerman NWR
With this Baird's Sandpiper doing an "Exit, Stage Left" bit, the conversion was more a case of the bird being fairly drably colored and the rocks he was walking across being a pretty uniform white.  This way, the focus is more on the pattern in the feathers and the texture of the rocks.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Hagerman NWR
More muddy water convinced me to go black and white yet again with this Lesser Yellowlegs in the shallows.  You do miss the yellow legs this way, unfortunately.  Trust me -- he has 'em.

Great Blue Heron, Hagerman NWR
There were plenty of Great Blue Herons -- I saw at least 20.  But they were VERY reluctant to let me get close enough for a good shot.  I must have spent five minutes slowly creeping up on in this one in my car, which most wildlife is less concerned about than a person on foot.  Having a hybrid with a nice quiet engine definitely helped.  Still, he kept with this peek-a-boo routine until he finally decided I was close enough and flew lazily off.

Black-bellied Plover, Hagerman NWR
American Golden-Plover in non-breeding plumage.  More muddy water, which has a positively mesmerizing texture in black and white.

Polyphemus Moth, Hagerman NWR
I hiked the Harris Creek Trail for the first time on this trip, and loved it so much I ended up taking the whole two-mile loop.  It was easily one of the prettiest hikes I've done in North Texas -- rolling hills, ponds, wildflowers, butterflies, and perfect spring temperatures.  I did regret not bringing my landscape lens on the walk, but hope to correct that in early morning or late evening light some time.

I was surprised by this large Polyphemus Moth lying motionless on the trail.  By large, I mean his wingspan was easily four inches.  I poked him gently with a twig and he fluttered a bit.  So I scooped him up and deposited him on this nearby log, which he promptly crawled off and plummeted into the grass.  So I patiently scooped him up again, and eventually he flew a solid 30 feet or so.  Not sure what sort of future he had, but I feel like I bought him a little more time.  And it was very cool to see him up close.

Variegated Meadowhawk, Hagerman NWR
Variegated meadowhawk warming up on a paved section of the trail.

Blue-Winged Teals, Hagerman NWR
Ducks frustrate me.  Almost always skittish and prone to swimming or flying off, unless they think you have food which I never do.  I used the car blind to get fairly close to this little group of Blue-winged Teals.

Snowy Egret, Hagerman NWR
Even with the muddy water, I had to leave this Snowy Egret in color to enjoy the yellow patch by his eye and the hint of his yellow foot.

Little Blue Heron, Hagerman NWR
Little Blue Heron stalking in the reeds.

Wilson's Snipe, Hagerman NWR
I'm fairly certain this is a Wilson's Snipe.  The smaller shore birds were definitely more cooperative subjects than their larger counterparts this day.

Not exactly the trip I'd envisioned, but that's the great thing about nature.  It almost never does exactly what you expect, and it's still almost always wonderful. :)

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