My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Choke Canyon Anticipation

I'm about to go off the Internet for ten days.  I'm going to one of my favorite birding places on earth, Choke Canyon State Park for a long weekend, starting today, then Monday will drive another ten hours to Big Bend State Park for several days of hiking. 

So I thought I 'd give you a small taste of what I'll be seeing and doing at Choke Canyon.  We'll be a group of about 25 and will have a group paddle on Saturday, and perhaps another one on Sunday.  But we'll also be hiking, birdwatching, just going out on the reservoir to enjoy sunsets and birds, and eating a group meal on Saturday night.

These pictures are from several years back so many of them are taken on very small point/shoot cameras. But they will give you an idea of what this weekend will be like. I consider this weekend to be our official first weekend of spring. We'll have night temperatures in the 40's and daytime temperatures in the high 60's to mid 70's.  Next Monday, it will be in the 80's.  It's also about the last weekend we can expect to see lots of ducks and sandhill cranes. They will be leaving very shortly.

One of my all-time favorite shots - can't find my original so had to use the backed-up one from Webshots
Choke Canyon is one of those places where several biomes come together.   It is the western-most place to find American alligators, the northernmost place to find several Mexican bird species, and has both eastern and western birds. It also attracts white pelicans and lots of ducks and geese in the winter. Sandhill  cranes roost there in winter when the water levels provide them with shallow inlets or ponds.

I have learned to take a couple of bags of oranges - the birds eat them down at about one very thirty minutes.  I also bring sunflower seed to bring in the green jays, cardinals and the sage sparrow, among other seed-eating birds. But we also find birds from our boats or by hiking - there are several trails just for bird watching.

Audubon's Oriole - we take oranges to attract it to our sites

Pine Warbler - oranges bring in many species

Bird Blind from which I took the previous two pictures, by Dutch on his cell phone

The reservoir killed many trees but some of these keletons are still beautiful

Long-billed thrasher

This is an amazing place for butterflies - this was taken in the spring, not on the annual trip.

Osprey hunting over the reservoir

On the Frio River from Breckenridge entrance - closed this year due to low water.

Me taking out out at Breckenridge several years ago

Scissor -tailed flycatcher taken from the visitor center parking lot

Winnie shooting wild turkeys on the reservoir shore. She became an avid birder after several years of coming here with me.

What our trip this year will look like

Morning view on 75 Acre Lake

This used to be a common scene before wildlife feeding was banned

A very old view of the Frio
So give me a couple of weeks and I'll be back with pictures from this years trip as well as several virtual hikes in Big Bend State Park. 

And Happy Valentines Day.