Despite being exposed to the cold north wind, there were a few interesting birds on the creek, including a few Solitary Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers. And I was pleased to find a single Green Heron, a summer-resident bird on our neighborhood creek and the first one I've seen this year. These birds nest in some of our more densely treed yards. Sometimes you can hear their strange noises just walking down Broadmeade.
At the downstream edge of the playing fields is a spot on the creek where I usually find a few ducks and shorebirds. Today there were also lots of Barn Swallows flying over the creek here. And this time I saw 2 Northern Rough-winged Swallows with them -- a very unusual bird in the neighborhood. But the biggest surprise came while I was counting Blue-winged Teal, the only duck I saw that morning. I looked towards the woods and saw this Virginia Opossum slowly walking towards me. I got this picture and soon after I think the possum saw me and slowly turned around and ambled back the way it came.
A little further downstream I was back on the trail and came to a spot that's usually pretty birdy. There were many Lincoln's Sparrows, which are peaking in numbers in the Austin area right now on their way north. But I was excited to find this male Spotted Towhee as well. It's a large member of the sparrow family and very dramatically colored. Usually they stick to the dense underbrush so they can be hard to see. This one was uncharacteristically out in the open and I was able to get this picture, the best I've gotten of this species so far.