Monday, July 8, 2013

Prairie Dogs at Lake Arrowhead State Park

In 4 days, Breck and I visited 8 state parks on our way to a friends wedding.  It was quite the trip, and I am still playing catch up on the park posts.  If parks are not your thing, don't worry.  I'll be back to my gardening, cooking, and sewing soon enough.  In the meantime, here is the first park we hit on July 4th, day 3 of our trip:  Lake Arrowhead State Park in Wichita Falls.

Obviously, the water was significantly low; 66% below it's normal level.

And the boat docks were closed because of it.

But I think it made the wildlife all the more visible.  From the dock I was able to see down through the shallow water and spot critters I might ordinarily have missed.

Diamond Back Water Snake (non-poisonous)
These guys were hysterical.  While I was watching a turtle eating a large fish head, a smaller turtle came up and stole it away.    You can see the head in the picture.  I know.  I'm gross.  But click on the photo for a closer look.

The larger turtle took back his lunch and this is a photo of the resulting chase.  

Red -eared Sliders
When I first saw these tracks in the shore mud, I thought they had been made by the water snake I had seen earlier.  

After walking down to the shore I saw they in fact were made by fresh water mussels.  I watched as this one moved slowly through the mud.  

Mussel moving through the mud.  Yes, they walk.
Of course their were water fowl on the lake as well.

Canadian Geese

I got a chance to work a little on my bird-in-flight photography.  It's getting better, but I still need lots of practice.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
The highlight of the park, however, was the prairie dogs.

They were so comical to watch as they jumped and played and foraged for food.

Not too scared of people either.

I could have watched this family for hours.

When they did get a little nervous, they would bark and flip their tails up and down.

Lake Arrowhead also had a disc golf course.  Breck, who loves to play the game, said it was a good one; well mowed and maintained.  It's a good thing he had his discs with him.  Who am I kidding.  He ALWAYS has his discs with him.