Hikes at Hagerman NWR

Connie was tired of working and declared that today was a a no work day; so after breakfast and waiting on the weather to warm up a bit from the overnight low in the 30’s we headed off to the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge about 67 miles from Denton. On our arrival we stopped by the visitor center and discovered that most of the hiking trails were closed today for a bow and arrow turkey hunt. However; there were 2 trails that were open…the Harris Creek Trail (where we saw nothing) and the Crow Hill Trail (where we saw a little more). We patched these two hikes together with the Wildlife Drive and it was the most successful of all.

Most of the Harris Creek Trail was still closed but we were able to do the first third or so around the pond. We heard some ducks but didn’t see them. Moving along to the Crow Hill Trail…we heard but did not see the namesake Crows that give the hill it’s name. We also discovered it was pretty muddy.; but did spot some cool looking dragonflies part way through.


After that we headed off on the Wildlife Drive…which is a 4 or so mile driving trail around the refuge. Our first stop was near a bridge where we spotted a Golden Yellowlegs


and then a bunch of Cliff Swallows nesting underneath the bridge. We shot about 2 dozen photos but they move so fast even in large flocks that this is the only decent shot of the bunch.


On the other side of the bridge away out in the lake we spotted what we first thought were wood storks but on a better look identified them as White Pelicans.


We spotted a Great Egret and then some Blue Winged Teal.



Then we spotted right next to the road this beautiful specimen…it’s a Scissor Tailed Flycatcher. Really beautiful, isn’t it.


There were entire flocks of Rusty Headed Oil Wells scattered throughout the refuge.


On the way back in towards the visitor center we saw some Northern Shovelers


and finally right up near the visitor center spotted some Snowy Egrets including one still in his breeding plumage



as well as a Lesser Yellowlegs on the edge of another bridge.


By this time we were getting tired so headed back for home. We stopped by Walmart and got a few groceries we were almost out of then got stuck in rush hour for awhile. Getting home we made a wine cooler (or two) and baked some Stouffer’s Lasagna for dinner…we discovered years ago that Stouffer’s is almost as good as home made and a whole whole whole lot easier to make. Add in a couple of Italian Ices for dessert and life is good.

Don’t know what the weekend holds. Neil made some more reservations for our western swing today as well as capturing some hike maps, things to do in some of the national parks we’re visiting, and other fun stuff planning.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to Hikes at Hagerman NWR

  1. Sparky says:

    Thank you for posting all the names of the birds and ducks. It’s always great to know what you are looking at.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      We do that so as to help update our life list of birds we have seen and because it makes the pictures more interesting anyway. Connie and I frequently spend more time trying to figure out what a particular bird is using various sources than I do taking the picture.

      What we use the most are the Peterson’s Guide to Birds; the paper copy of this is considered the bible for birdwatching; we have the Peterson app on our iPads and iPhones so that helps a lot. Second is looking at either the bird listing for the particular NWR or whatever we visited, most have one of these to help identify birds on the refuge. We frequently, particularly with things outside of the hawk/heron/duck/woodpecker families have no idea where to start with Peterson’s; it is actually a better resource for a knowledgeable person than a novice since it’s search ability is limited. We’re still looking for a real good, easy to follow ‘recipe’ with step by step instructions on what to look for to better identify them. I actually figured out two of these from Hagerman because I found a web site Friends of Hagerman.com which included a gallery of all the birds found in the refuge; with only 100 pictures to look at it was much easier to figure out than Peterson’s which has thousands of pictures and if you don’t know it’s a swallow you have no idea where to start.

      We have been having terrible times getting decent pictures of Redwing Blackbirds since we left Cedar Key; they’ve been common at our last 3 or 4 stops but they seem to be much more skittish than I recall from down in the Everglades and in the DC area where they would sit there and let you walk up to take their pictureseems like the ones out this way get scared off a lot easier.

      I see ya’ll are still at Sarasotaya’ll going to stay there permanently or move along one of these days? At this rate; we’ll be able to stop by and have dinner with you again as we head for Fort Myers in late October.

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