Saturday, April 23, 2005

The iron bridge road

I was up early to meet Bolt and Andrew in the Thomas lobby again. First, we went to Shroud and Bev’s apartment where a House Finch chose to lay her nest in their hanging pot. Bolt gently took the pot down and handed it to Andrew. We gazed in wonder while Bolt snapped a few pictures of the nestlings. Then we were off.

This was my first visit to the iron bridge road. It captured me immediately. Honeysuckle and Spiderwort lined the narrow dirt road, and the nearby lake sparkled. The one discomfort was the cold wind. I brought a jacket but was still cold. Bolt didn’t even have that much. I guess the older sister in me surfaced; I had a hard time focusing on birds while he was so cold.

After a short time of walking, we came upon the iron bridge itself. I can’t say that it was the most impressive structure, but the birds it allowed us to see more than made up for that. Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Pelicans – the lake was brimming with all of these. I had no idea that such incredible birds were so close to me for all these months.

As we continued walking, the day warmed up. Really, it turned out to be a glorious day – the type of day that makes me want to jump and sing and forget about responsibility for a while. Indigo Buntings were plenteous. Bolt spotted a Painted Bunting, but I only had time to see the flash of a red tail as the bird flew across the road.

The road took a turn that led to the railroad tracks. Nearby, a gate stood open, beckoning to us. We answered its call.

The road took us first through an open, sandy area. Then it led to a creek and a marsh-like habitat. We heard a Chat singing; I liked the diversity of its music. Although we searched for the bird, we couldn’t find it.

The road didn’t want us to turn around, I know. We had to though. We resolutely set our faces toward college and homework, but apparently we didn’t have quite enough determination. A small sign claimed that a branch of the road belonged to LeTourneau. “Shall we take it?” Bolt asked.

As soon as we turned in, I gasped in awe. Before me lay the most fairy-taleish road I had seen. Cool East Texas dirt, brilliant wildflowers, trees bent over in a canopy, sunlight dancing in dozens of filtered patterns –beauty greater than I could have imagined.

I’m sure we saw something on that magical stretch of road, but I’m afraid I wasn’t paying attention.

That section of road ended in a gas well, unfortunately. Then, we really did have to go back. As we walked, Bolt informed us of the various trees and flowers. We also got a good look at a beautiful Prothonotary Warble. Its bright yellow feathers stood out as it sang for us.


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