Home > Birding > Mills Pond – October 2012

Mills Pond – October 2012

February 3, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mills Pond is very close to home. It’s nice having a good location that I don’t have drive an hour to. I had thought for some time that this would be a good (for Austin) fall colors location. We found some free time at the end of October and headed out at the end of the day. Still too early for much color, but the birding was pretty good. This area specializes in larger birds, not small ones. Ducks, egrets, herons, etc.

Our first find was a our most surprising. Somehow a chicken had found its way here!

Chicken!

Chicken!

The ducklings were very popular with everyone though they don’t sit still.

Ducklings

Ducklings

After a few trips, I finally saw some Cormorants! There were two young Double-crested Cormorants present.

Double-crested Cormorant (juvenile)

Double-crested Cormorant (juvenile)

Halfway around the pond we stopped at the dock. Several doves perched in a tree made for a colorful photo opportunity, although it was a struggle to find a good position. Below is the best I could do at the time.

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove

Almost around the loop, we came across a Green Heron hunting for dinner. Watching him for awhile yielded good results for all!

Green Heron with dinner

Green Heron with dinner

Not far away, a Great Egret was not to be outdone.

Great Egret with dinner

Great Egret with dinner

Loop complete, we checked the ‘woods’. A Red Admiral was helpfully posed in the waning hours of the sunset.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Apparently we have Osage-orange trees. I had never seen these before and had to look it up. They are specific to mostly Texas in a stretch from about Austin northeast to Oklahoma/Arkansas. The fruit is huge, about the size of a cantaloupe. The ground was covered with them and I didn’t see any remaining on the trees. I will head out earlier this year to see how they look on the tree. It’s a fascinating sight but I couldn’t find a way to capture the scene well, particularly with the light almost gone.

Osage-orange fruit

Osage-orange fruit

Doing one last check of the entrance revealed the apparently now-resident Wood Duck. I am glad to see him stick around, but unfortunately I think he is the only Wood Duck in the area.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

Finally, the Great Egret was practicing poses of his own.

Great Egret

Great Egret

That’s all for this trip. It was a productive one. Oh, almost forgot! This was my first, and so far only, chance to try out my new Manfrotto 494RC2 Mini Ball Head for my monopod. It worked out well. With two controls (friction and lock) and the ability to rotate and tilt, it is more difficult to operate than just a simple tilt that has one control (Manfrotto 234RC). It will take me a few trips to figure out the best way to use it. I found myself wondering if the joystick-style would be easier, even though it is bigger and much more expensive. Regardless, the additional versatility was much welcomed over the tilt-only style or no head at all.

Great Egret

Great Egret

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Categories: Birding
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