This morning I took a trip across town to visit a new birding spot, Crescent Bend Nature Park. I decided to go birding this morning rather late (by birding standards) and didn’t arrive at the park until 9 AM. Nonetheless, I was ready to see what I could find on my first visit.
Crescent Bend Nature Park used to be a residential neighborhood. The neighborhood was struck by severe flooding in the late 90s, deemed unsuitable for rebuilding, and turned into a beautiful nature park. Over 250 species of birds have been reported in the park with the birds taking advantage of several different habitats: aquatic, riparian, woodlands, and savannah. The Cibolo Creek winds its way through the park and there is a mile-and-a-half of walking trails.
I walked the full trail loop, deviating part of the way through, to take the small road further into the park. During my time deep in the interior of the park, Turkey Vultures circled in the sky, and the calls of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers could be heard in the trees. I watched Western Kingbirds fly and interact with each other, the chirps they make when excited or agitated are cute.
Near the parking lot, on either end, are bird blinds. Bird blinds are tents or structures you hide inside to observe and photograph birds. I discovered the first bird blind as I finished the trail loop and went and sat in one of the chairs and chatted up the fellow birders. Next to the bird blind were a few water features, baths, and feeders. Accompanying them were a number of branches and perches on the ground for the birds.
On this little setup, you could find a bunch of House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, White-winged Doves, Northern Cardinals, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds.
While in the bird blind, the fellow birders asked if I saw the Barred Owl at the other bird blind. Excitedly, I responded “No!” and asked them if it was still there. They told me it hangs out next to the other bird blind on and off all day. One of the birders and I headed over to the other blind to see if it was still there. We got near the blind and there were people pointing their cameras up into a tree next to the parking lot. We asked what they were looking at and one guy pointed a green laser at the tree and told us to look directly left of the dot. What a neat trick, I thought to myself.
Sitting there on the branch, still as can be, was a beautifully camouflaged Common Nighthawk. I have no idea how anyone spotted it in the first place. It was just in a random tree next to the parking lot completely wooden and silent.
I arrived at the second blind and found people there chatting about birds and neighbors. They were quick to point out the promised Barred Owl. Again with the laser, the same man directed us where to look in the tree. Unbothered by our presence, the owl busied itself with preening. It provided ample opportunities for photos and videos.
I’ll plan to return to Crescent Bend in the Fall and plan to get there earlier than today. Next up on my list to visit is Warbler Woods.
What birds I saw today
Update 7/30/2022: I returned to the park today, the following weekend, with some friends in tow. We got lucky and saw TWO Barred Owls, and I found the Common Nighthawk again.