Birds, Blog, Hiking, Loen River, Miller Springs Park, Nature, Nighthawk, Outside, Painted Bunting, Texas

Miller Springs

One of the difficult to maneuver parts of the trailJust a few minutes away from my home is Miller Springs Park. This park has two entrances.  One takes you to the Nature Center and the other takes you down to the Leon River. The entrances are on opposite sides of the Belton Dam.  I went to both sides last week with my birding friend. We were there for over 7 hours and walked almost 5 miles, climbed trails equal to 9 floors of stairs, and I took over 2,000 photos. I’ve been busy trimming out the blurry ones (and my essential tremors make sure there are a lot of blurry ones!).

We watched a Great Blue Heron for well over an hour, found a waterfall, watched as they released water from lake into the river, saw islands and fishing spots get flooded, and enjoyed every bit of the day. There was something new with every step.

MS (1 of 1)-41We saw some things that made us sad. Someone evil had taken a water turtle out of the water and placed it up on a stone step. There was no way that turtle could have walked up there. He was set, but there was no wet trail that led to him or her. I picked it up and placed it near the water. We walked away to take some photos of some flowers and when we went by that spot, the turtle was back in the water. It made me sic to think of what would have happened to that poor turtle if we had not come along.

Then, as the water was rushing into the river, a beaver and her baby were swept away in the torrent. She held onto a log as the water washed them down the river. Her baby was holding onto her back. Unfortunately, at one point the water washed over them, and the beaver drowned. I didn’t see the baby after that, so I imagine it also drowned. I know that things like this happen, and that the lake needs to be flood controlled, but it was very heartbreaking.

NIghthawk flying away from the water

On the brighter side, the rushing water churned up a lot of fish for the Great Blue Heron and a male Kingfisher.  Both were able to snatch up several fish. And, the water chased out a Nighthawk from it’s spot on the ground and it flew above us. It confused us at first until we realized it was out and about because of the water. Butterflies and wildflowers greeted us everywhere we went. We didn’t plan to stay as long as we did, but we just couldn’t leave. Finally, my friend was worried that her husband would wonder where she was, so we reluctantly left. My drive was about three minutes – hers was over an hour…

Here are a few photos from the east side of the park.  I will post some from the west side after I finish going through them. (I took over 2000 photos that day.)

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