Whistle While You Waddle

How’s it going out there in the blogosphere?  I am starting to feel really good about the Texas production – been some work to get to this point, but clearly on a path to put a serious dent in my birding backlog.  Not to mention, definitely picking up some ground on my brother, although I am taking advantage of his distaste for the cold weather (I keep reminding him how odd that is being that he chooses to live in the Windy City).  Maybe have a large queue of unprocessed trip pictures is a godsend and not a yoke.

How about we do some more den birding.  Back in December 2016 (trust me, my backlog goes several years beyond this), Linda and I stopped off at Conroe, Texas on our way down to South Padre Island.  Guessing this was a good stopping point for a day’s travel as opposed to a specific destination at the time.  For those interested, we found an incredible Mexican restaurant there – major yum.   Since we had some time to spare I looked up some local birding locations.

Whistling Duck found at William Goodrich Jones State Forest, Conroe in Texas December 2016

The William Goodrich Jones State Forest had good reviews and was relatively close.  It also boasted having the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker.  I’ve been to several preserves and refuges claiming they host this Pecker, but every time I’ve come up empty tinned.  This happens to be an oddly situated park.  There’s an apartment complex on the side of it (at the main pull off entrance) and a sizeable (and busy) road cutting right through it.  To be honest, I really didn’t have too high of hopes for finding anything decent.  My optimism for the Pecker has since devolved into pure pessimism.  I’m always up for a good hike, so grabbed the Beast and headed out to explore.

Whistling Duck found at William Goodrich Jones State Forest, Conroe in Texas December 2016

There was a small pond as you first come into the forest.  I saw some activity on it from the RV, but again, didn’t really think much about it – probably some Mallards splashing around or Coots practicing their walk on water bar trick.  Every experience that moment when something catches your peripheral vision, but doesn’t really process until you’ve taken a few more steps.  Slowly the mind sorts through the grey matter until it finds some piece of stored data it can relate this new input – maybe I am just getting old and my processor is getting long in the tooth.  As it came into focus I even stopped walking to re-run the quick sort algorithm – Bird->Water->Duck->No Green->Not Mallard->Partial Black->Not a Coot->Orange Bill->Merganser->Black Eye->Not Merganser WHAT?

Whistling Duck found at William Goodrich Jones State Forest, Conroe in Texas December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about this musical duck!

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