At first I thought I was seeing a Great Blue Heron, soaring across the sky. It was about the same size, but it was bright white.

After consulting my Texas bird book, I realized it must be a Great Egret.

Here's a movie of the great, white bird we saw: Great Egret.

During our walk around the lake at Cedar Park Town Center, we saw a variety of birds: black vultures, mockingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, scissor-tailed flycatchers, a kill deer, a great egret, and others who were too fast to photograph and identify.

killdeer
The killdeer was bobbing his head up and down in a muddy area of the path. (The name killdeer comes from the call that the bird makes.)

red-winged blackbird

The red-winged blackbirds were busy chasing away other birds from the brush, where perhaps they were making nests.

red-winged blackbird

I know that the following is a terrible, out-of-focus picture of a scissor-tailed flycatcher, but it was the best we could do last Sunday. (We've seen them flying around since and hopefully we'll be able to get a better photo soon.)

scissor-tailed flycatcher

We first saw these birds zig-zagging across the sky, their breasts a shining pink in the sunlight. What caught our attention most, though, was their extremely long tails.

ducks

The lake ducks are always there and less extraordinary, but I just love this picture of them in the reflecting sunlight.

We also took video of the great egret and other birds which I'll be posting soon.

We really wanted to take a drive out into the Hill Country to see the wildflowers last week. We've been enjoying them as we drive around town, and we knew they must be hitting their peak in the country side. But we just didn't have the time for a leisurely drive on top of all the other things we had to do.

primroses and verbena

So the compromise: walk around the lake at Cedar Park Town Center.

bluebonnets and primroses

The lake is less than a mile from our house, and there were many wildflowers to see along our walk there.

iris

The lake, usually beautiful on its own, makes an even more beautiful backdrop for the flowers.

bluebonnets and the lake

The sidewalk hasn't been completed around one side of the lake, so we followed the path animals and hikers before us had created in the brush...

Lisa resting on a rock

...before rejoining the path on the other side.

wildflowers

On the other side of the lake, we saw an amazing variety of birds as well as wildflowers (which I'll post pictures of tomorrow).

verbena

And a final pose with the Texas state flower (bluebonnets) before heading home.

Ronak and bluebonnets

Tomorrow: Walk Around the Lake Part 2: Birds

Who wants to mow when the weeds are as pretty as these?

primrose

Yes, these wildflowers have sprung up in our yard with others.

I'm not one of those people who will kill the grass if I have to in order to eliminate the last dandelion invader in the lawn, so we won't be mowing any time soon - or we might just mow around. ;-)

Can you believe our old apt charged us $50 for a strong smell? The only smell we left it with was the same smell it had when we moved in!! And I'm sure they'll rent it out to the next people with that exact same smell! They always have to find something! We took lots of pictures when we moved in, so we could show them all the damage that we moved into - in case they tried to charge us for any of that. But we couldn't capture the smell, so that was pretty tricky of them. Oh well, I guess it could have been worse. It's ridiculous how much these places charge for dust on light bulbs and blinds, nail holes in the walls, etc. We knocked ourselves out cleaning stuff.

It's so nice to be able to do what we want now. Paint what we want, dig up what we want, make holes where we want........which we'll do as soon as we get all the other stuff done.

(excerpt from an email 4/4/08)

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)

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