The sun rises early in June. Before 7am it climbs above the Trinity River in Dallas quickly burning off the fog and dew that built up the night before. The early morning is a special time to be on the river and one that few people experience. Myself included!
Joining me at the Loop 12 Boat Ramp are a pair of guys with whom I have hiked with before, Bill Holston(left) and Scott Hudson(right). The photo to the left was taken on the Great Trinity Forest Trail at Little Lemmon Lake. The fishermen in the photo were giving a detailed explanation of the snakes(really big ones) they had just seen minutes before. It was hilarious. Everyone laughing and having a great time. I always run into great people like this in the Great Trinity Forest. Everyone seems to have a funny story to tell.
This early morning portion of our hike was a great lighthearted walk up the Trinity River Wetland Cells near the community of Joppa. The early Saturday morning hike was a primer to a more serious mid-morning hike later in the day which will be in another post.
|Bill Holston hiking towards the Freedmen's Community of Joppa, Texas|
Birds and More Birds
|Flock of cattle egrets mustering in the morning fog of the Trinity River|
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) The yellow-crowned night heron forages for food both in the day and at night. Most of the yellow-crowned night heron's diet is made up of crustaceans like snails and crayfish. It sometimes eats fish, eels, mussels, frogs, tadpoles, aquatic insects, snails, and small snakes. It either stands and waits for its prey to swim by or wades in the shallow water and slowly stalks its prey.
Until recently the White Ibis was an uncommon sight here in Dallas. From late May through September they are now easy to spot along the wetland cells and in the shallow evaporating lakes that dot the Great Trinity Forest.
I always look skyward when these formations fly over. Often mixed in with the White Ibis are White Faced Ibis and Glossy Ibis which are much a rarer sight in the DFW area.
The male Indigo Bunting is a rich, deep blue all over, but may appear dark and blackish in poor light. A popular memory-phrase for the song of the male bunting is "fire-fire, where-where, here-here, seeit-seeit." Indigo Buntings frequent forest clearings and second-growth habitat in the East and Midwest. These are small finch size birds and probably more often heard instead of seen. This bird might have a mate and a nest north of the Linfield Road dead-end(about 300 yards) between the wetland cell and the Trinity River.
The Great Egret (Ardea alba). The great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society and represents a conservation success story. The snowy white bird's plumage made it popular quarry in 19th-century North America. Great egrets were decimated by plume hunters who supplied purveyors of the latest ladies' fashions. Their populations plunged by some 95 percent. Today the outlook is much brighter. The birds have enjoyed legal protection over the last century, and their numbers have increased substantially. This particular individual is a common site on this roost and around the shore of this particular cell. I have photographed in numerous times in the last year or two near the Union Pacific trestle.
Little Blue Heron
The Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea). The Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea, is a small heron. It breeds from the Gulf states of the United States through Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and Uruguay.
There is post-breeding dispersal to well north of the nesting range, as far as the border between the US and Canada. The particular Little Blue Herons pictured here are at Honey Springs near Joppa. The hibiscus plant to the right is a bit of an oddity and something I have never noticed before. My guess is that it was planted when this area was part of the Sleepy Hollow Country Club.