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the wandering chick
...Brazos Bend State Park
in southeast Texas

Brazos Bend State Park, located a little under 30 miles southwest of Houston, is a wonderful day escape from the Houston - Galveston areas.

The wildlife is abundant. On a balmy January day, I saw plenty of alligators and numerous varieties of birds...koots, egrets, ibises, herons, black-bellied whistlers...among others.

The park has several lakes and hiking trails - 35 miles in all - and is filled with beautiful old moss-covered Oak trees. It's a great biking park, too, if you like flat terrain.

If you have more than a day, all the better. Take in the George Observatory with its three domed telescopes, one of them being one of the largest in the nation that's open to the public.

Little Creekfield Lake in fog
Little Creekfield Lake is my favorite to walk around. Among several types of waterfowl found here are koots and black-belled whistlers.
vines tangle in trees throughout the park
Little Creekfield Lake
The rope-like vine that is entangled in so many of the trees in the park brings "Tarzan" to the lips of many.
a rope-like vine is entangled in many of the trees in the park
Little Creekfield Lake
Little Creekfield Lake
The foggy mist casts an eerie look on Little Creekfield Lake.
Little Creekfield Lake
On this particular morning, my traveling partner and I got up early to take a walk around Little Creekfield Lake. We didn't see any of the koots and black-bellied whistlers (such as those below) that we had seen the day before, but we could defnitely hear them. They must have been sheltered in all the marsh and sea grass that can be found in this small lake.
black-bellied whistlers
Little Creekfield Lake
a egret landing on the water
see saw - duck vs turtle
An egret makes a graceful landing on the water at Little Creekfield Lake.
Ibises on Little Creekfield Lake
red-shouldered hawk

Above: A little 'see-saw' time?

Right: Ibises can be found throughout Brazos Bend State Park.

Below: A red-shouldered hawk pauses cautiously in a tree near Horseshoe Lake.

the same red-shouldered hawk
Horseshoe Lake
turkey vultures in tree
tree filled with turkey vultures
Guts and gall - that's what it took to walk under these trees around Horseshoe Lake that were covered with turkey vultures. And as we approached each tree, the flock would take off - all at once - causing us to instinctively look up (which was not very wise) and hold our ears to cushion the sound of the flapping of hundreds of wings.
a little blue heron scouts for food
alligators at elm lake

Above: A Little Blue Heron scouts for food.

Left: We didn't see many alligators on the rainy day, but the next day when the sun was out, so were they - lots of 'em.

alligators at elm lake
alligator at elm lake

Signs are posted throughout the park to be cautious of the alligators and to not feed or approach them. Luckily, almost everyone we saw was in or near the water and on the opposite bank from where we stood.

But not all of them. We took a walk behind the Nature Center and found a family of four or five sunning down in the gully.

alligator sunning near elm lake
walking path near 40-acre lake
marsh near 40-acre lake
Hiking and bking paths around 40-Acre Lake offer peace and tranquility.
cluster of oak trees

Beautiful old live oak trees grace the grounds of Brazos Bend State Park. In fact, there is a walking path called Hoot's Hollow Trail that comprises some of the oldest and largest in the park.

The cluster of trees above and to the right is on the main road leading into the park, across the street from the parking lot to 40-Acre Lake.

A moss-tree lined walking path
cluster of oak trees
Moss-covered trees line this walking path on the north side of 40-Acre Lake.
an egret searches the water for food
A great egret searches the water for food.
Elm Lake
Elm Lake
alligator sunning on Elm Lake
The park suffered major damage from Hurricane Ike in September 2008. It's most evident around Elm Lake; however, it doesn't keep the waterbirds away...or the alligators (below).
rope vine takes hold of a tree
a turtle balances on a log in Elm Lake
rope-like vines attach to most anything
At first glance, I wasn't too sure this wasn't a snake. So, chicken that I am, I snapped a couple of pictures, then ran.
baby alligator
Little Creekfield Lake at dusk
A young alligator suns on a log near Elm Lake.
sun set over Elm Lake

Above: Little Creekfield Lake at dusk.

Below, left and right: Sunset over Elm Lake.

sunset at elm lake

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