I spent a beautiful day at Dallas’ Trinity River Audubon Center (TRAC), located southeast of downtown Dallas. This was my first visit, but it won’t be my last!
I was there from open until close, and walked most of the trails north of the facility (the strange-looking white mark in the center of this sign). The facility is spacious and new, and staffed with pleasant and helpful people. At least part of the property was once an illegal dump:
The first birds to greet me were:
These colorful birds were flitting amongst the trees near the facility. It was hard to leave an area that was so alive with birds, but I was too excited to explore the trails.
This is the view looking back at the TRAC facility, from the end of the walkway that leads to the trail system. Just minutes after I took this picture, I turned to my right and leaned over the rail to look around. I saw movement from the corner of my eye, and looked back to see a bittern or a night-heron (I can’t say for sure) sitting on the railing. I didn’t want to scare him off, so I just enjoyed his company for a little while, not looking directly at him.
I think this may be an Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), but flycatchers are hard for me to ID.
This is not the same individual bird, but it may be the same species. I have such a hard time with ID sometimes…but I don’t let it frustrate me. I enjoy the birds whether I know their names or not. And you should too!
I looked up just in time to see this flock of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhyncho) soaring silently overhead. I wonder if they were headed to White Rock Lake, where so many of them congregate in the winter?
I found a perfect spot near a wetland area, with my back to the morning sun and this solitary Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) to keep me company. He was off a fair distance, and he did not seem disturbed by my presence. I unfolded my chair and sat there for an hour or more. It was wonderful to be in such a peaceful and quiet place, with so much beauty around me.
This is the bird blind located amidst a marshy area, surrounded by prairie. It looks really cool from this point of view, don’t you think? I only lasted about 15 minutes inside because I couldn’t stand to be cut off from…well…this! In the very short time I was inside, I saw a tiny yellow warbler with black markings – I know it was new to me. I was excited for about 30 seconds, then I still had to get back outside. I can’t remember enough about it to look it up now – must be the trauma of being in the blind. :-;
On my way out I was delighted to see several soaring raptors.
I think this is probably a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), but hawks are also hard for me to ID.
This last photo is a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura). Turkey Vultures are a common sight where I live, and a welcome one. I am captivated by their effortless floating in the sky, and the bold silhouette they present no matter the weather.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos, and a glimpse at a beautiful fall day at the Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas.