I birded the neighborhood for about 4 hours this morning, starting at Parmer Village. I spent about an hour in the marshy area near the Parmer Lane bridge. This area is intriguing to me since it's the only habitat of this kind in the neighborhood. Unfortunately it's also one of the remaining areas along the creek where people are still riding ATVs. They come in by the bridge and this picture shows a rut left by one. This marshy area is the only place I've found Marsh Wrens (but not this morning), and it could potentially have some other interesting species hidden in the reeds. This morning I found many Swamp Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, and Song Sparrows. I got this picture of one of the Song Sparrows.
Another place ATVs are getting in is by the new flood control wall near Saddlebrook Trail. I've emailed a couple people in Williamson County asking if we can block access with boulders, like we have at other points along the creek. Hopefully I'll hear back from them soon. A small tributary creek goes along this wall and joins Lake Creek. It's a good place to find birds and this morning I got this picture of an Orange-crowned Warbler there. It's the first picture of an Orange-crowned Warbler I've gotten that actually shows a trace of its orange crown.
I was happy to find 5 species of ducks this morning. In the past year or 2 ducks have gotten much less common during winter on the creek. I think this is because of the recent Parmer Village and Lake Creek Trail construction projects. Now that those are mostly complete, I am hoping to see more ducks again. In the Parmer Village drainage pond there were American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks, and Gadwall. On the creek I found 7 Green-winged Teal, which were in beautiful plumage. But I was afraid I'd scare them away if I got close enough to take a good picture. I did get this decent picture of Northern Shovelers a little farther upstream.
Shortly after I took this picture an Osprey flew over, and both the teal and these shovelers were spooked and flew off.