Sunday, October 14, 2007

Footbridge, Fall birds, and a Big Snake

I haven't properly birded the neighborhood in nearly 2 weeks. (I was in Port Aransas last weekend where the weather was hot and the birding was slow.) So this morning when I finally got down to the T&C playing fields parking lot at the end of Meadowheath, I was pleased to see some progress made on the hike and bike trail footbridge placed there in early September. This picture I took from the flood plain property shows where it will span the smaller tributary creek. Also the area for the parking lot at the end of Braes Valley St. has been cleared.

It took me nearly 90 minutes to get from my house to the flood plain property this morning because the birding on Stillforest was great! I ran into 3 different mixed flocks of songbirds foraging in the treetops. Many winter-resident species are returning. Highlights were:
On the flood plain property and across Lake Creek I also found:
Across Lake Creek at the northwest edge of the playing fields I got a small scare as I literally stepped over this huge snake! It's a Texas Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimerii) and I estimated it was almost 5 feet long. It was surprisingly calm and still. It hardly moved as I stepped over it and then took these pictures. These non-venomous snakes eat all kinds of small animals like rats, mice, frogs, and small birds. What a striking pattern it has!

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