|Sunrise on Sheldon Lake|
Last Wednesday, a friend invited me to lunch. I couldn't stand to not spend some time outdoors. She hadn't quite decided on the time and place, so I texted her that I just needed an address and a time to meet her before I set off on about a thirty minute drive to a very urban state park. It is located just minutes out of Houston proper and was originally built to provide water for the war effort. It has become a very valuable wild place in a mostly concrete area. It also was once a fish hatchery and still has ponds that are going wild. It provides important environmental education to school children as well as to aspiring master naturalists and the general public.
I have fond memories of taking my inner city Outdoor Club there for a day of birding, fishing, and a cookout lunch of hot dogs and S'mores. I had only been able to raise enough money for half the binoculars I needed and the kids had to pair up to look at birds. I had to slow the volunteer from the Environmental Center way down as the kids were entranced by every bird, even the most common. We brought our own worms and the Park staff provided fishing gear. The pond had just been stocked, and the kids caught fish the size of their smiles.
This day, I started at the fishing parking lot, on the north side of the lake, squeaking in just in time to catch the last minute of sunrise through cypress trees standing in shallow water. Then the glowing cypress trees caught my attention, and I spent several minutes trying to capture their awesomeness.
|Cypress at sunrise|
|The sun on the trunks caught my eye|
|A small part of the gulp of cormorants|
|The gulp landing|
|The birds came close to the pier|
|They were still leapfrogging, as they passed the pier, then began flying away. The splashes |
are from their little runs to get in the air.
|They became a column of birds circling back to their start and disappearing into the sky|
|Finally there was only one|
|I was happy to see something was eating the invasive apple snails -mabe the limpkin?|
|A great egret flew in as I passed this tree|
|What passes for fall color in Texas|
|A rare oak whose leaves have fall color|
|My favorite picture of a closeup of cypress needles|
|When all you need is one leaf to show all the colors of fall|
My friend texted me to come meet her, so I started back, only to discover that tower was open. I raced up five flights of stairs to grab a picture in the now unforgiving light. (I still have all those extra red blood cells I need to work in Colorado at 7500 feet.) Then I had a wonderful time and lunch with my friend and another mutual friend who stopped by to visit me in Colorado, changing from a virtual to a real friend.
|...Gives you a view of a good part of Sheldon Lake|