A walk in the park

This is a visual notebook of my recent walk at the lake.  While some of the photos links to a larger versions, and while I am including a variety of scenes with which I was graced during my excursion, this does not represent the pinnacle of my outing, nor does it demonstrate the totality of what I captured that day.  There are some stories that deserve to be told on their own, and likewise there are some images that need to be shown in a singular context.  Nevertheless, please join me in a casual stroll around White Rock Lake.  Because this is a federal wildlife refuge, please don’t pester the animals or damage the plants—those are federal crimes, you know.  Besides, all this life deserves our respect.  Let your eyes feast while your hands stay in your pockets and your feet remain firmly planted beneath you.

By the way, commentary has been kept to a minimum except to point out the interesting inhabitants of this wonderland.  There is no species identification in this post because that will come later as more photos and videos are posted.  Besides, it’s important to keep the tour moving along at a healthy pace.  Most of the enjoyment of this jaunt is in the viewing, not the hearing (er… reading).

First, we’ll sit at this picnic table near the shore where we can watch the pelicans, gulls, coots, ducks, geese, and other waterfowl as they do their waterfowl things.  Well I’ll be!  That gaggle of geese is coming over for a visit.

A gaggle of domestic swan geese (Anser cygnoides) and domestic greylag geese (Anser anser) (164_6438)

But let’s not disturb the geese, eh?  Instead, let’s mosey over yonder to visit an old friend.

You know, we recently had torrential rains and significant flooding here at the lake.  In fact, you can see a lot of the debris left behind.  Those grackles are pillaging the remnants of those downpours for whatever they can eat.  And do take note of the pelicans, coots, and gulls out in the water.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Grackles, pelicans, gulls, and coots (164_6456)

But let’s move along, shall we?  My friend is right over here.

Would you look at that…  Someone appears to have tossed out a good bit of birdseed.  The squirrels and grackles certainly appear to be enjoying a hardy breakfast.  Isn’t that nice?

Grackles and squirrels eating birdseed (164_6466)

We shouldn’t disturb them.  They look simply ravenous, so we’ll let them eat while we move on.  My friend is right over here.

Oh my goodness!  I’m so embarrassed.  Perhaps we shouldn’t visit my ancient, divinely welcoming friend.  It looks like the dear soul has already undressed for winter.

But I do note there are a few doves and a grackle flying overhead as they visit with an ageless being now asleep for a season that doesn’t seem interested in arriving.  Perhaps in time…

My favorite tree with some birds flying overhead (164_6473)

In fact, I spy a squirrel hidden in its branches.  See it nestled right against the trunk almost in the center of this view?

A squirrel in the bare branches of my favorite tree (164_6482)

I guess we’re being watched in similar fashion to our own watching.  It makes sense if you think about it.  We’re in their world, after all.

Let’s not dawdle.  My friend deserves some privacy.  Since I believe I spied some birds resting on the pier, why don’t we head back in that direction.

Gulls hanging out on the pier (164_6489)

Ha!  I was right.  Look at the gulls hanging out in the morning sun.  Aren’t they a sight?

Why, yes, I do see a coot and even some scaups floating in the water.  In the background, you can also see some cormorants.

I beg your pardon?

Oh, I do see it.  That looks to be a duck nesting in the brush along the shore there on the left.  I don’t think we should approach to find out.  I’d hate to disturb all of them.

If you look here on the other side through this thicket of shoreline brush, you can spy some pelicans, gulls, and coots out in the water.  I know it’s hard to see them clearly with all this dry foliage in our way, but you can just make them out.  And down there in the water nearby looks to be a duck.

Pelicans, gulls, and coots hidden behind a thicket of shoreline brush (164_6498)

Before we cause too much of a ruckus by upsetting all the wildlife, how’s about we take a gander at a quieter spot?  I promise, it’ll be worth your while.

Okay, now that that’s decided, we’ll head on over to the creek.

While we make our way toward one of the main tributaries feeding the lake, do be mindful of the cypress knees here on shore.  I’d hate for someone to stumble over them and fall.  I can only imagine what it feels like to land full-force on top of those knobby, wooden projections.

Cypress knees (165_6516)

And here we are.  Isn’t this a most welcoming spot?  What with the calm water moving stoically toward its joining with the lake, the silent flora sitting like ancient beacons at the water’s edge, and all of it somehow proclaiming its wondrous spirit now held in waiting for a time when once again the green will burst forth, the flowers will blossom, and the smell of new life will fill the air?

Oh, but I do prattle on so, don’t I?  I’m so sorry.  Let’s just look at it for a moment.

The creek (165_6521)

Please do watch your step if you approach the edge.  This creek grows in magnificent surges and floods.  That activity weakens the banks in ways that create unpredictable crumblings of earth.

The creek (165_6527)

Oh my!  It appears we’ve reached the end of the path.  Woodlands lie directly ahead and generally are not welcoming of visitors.  They harbor secrets, those trees, and they protect the life hidden within.  We dare not disturb them when they’re at rest like this.  Especially when they’re at rest.

The forest (165_6529)

Shall we head back?  The park services road is just over yonder and will take us back to the park office where we started our little walk.

Do wait, if you would, for but a moment.

Before we disperse, each on his or her own way, each into a life perhaps so far removed from this place as to be unimaginable…  Take but a moment to think about this time and this place—about this experience.  Let the natural beauty of what you’ve seen go with you.

Let’s all be certain we reflect on this.  I know I will.

The sun reflecting on the creek (165_6540)

I thank you for your time and for your interest in joining me on this excursion.  I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.

Do have a good day.

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