map from Google Maps
are arranged geographically, not alphabetically. You can click somewhere
on the map above and be transported to the right place in the list of names and
descriptions below. We made up some names;
took others from common usage over the years; and some are official.
lists are a work in progress. Most of
the birds are in photos on The
Monthly Bird Journal pages. To
find specific mentions or images of a species, use the
Search of My Sites to find the words, and the photos
will follow. Beware, since it's a search of all my sites, some
findings may be about art or poetry instead of birds. I
keep adding species to the lists as I remember old ones
or encounter new ones. And some of those pages are very slow
load, so give it time.
Place Names & Birds
Rock Trail used to be a continuation of the Walking/Biking Path
around White Rock Lake, starting north, across Mockingbird
Lane at the corner
and Lawther, the street that goes almost all the way around the lake.
Well, it used to. After the fire department couldn't find the Dreyfuss building
until after it burned to the ground, The City changed the name of Lawther in several
places around the lake. The Trail continues through mostly green spaces, hospitals and businesses to a little north
of LBJ Freeway. Quite a walk.
Rock Creek - from at or just
north of Mockingbird Bridge to just north of LBJ. See Up
the Creek with a Paddle, continuing south of the Spillway and
Spillway Steps through the dark green area on the
map that is the golf course, under I-30 and beyond. I should probably note
that the phrase "White Rock Creek" also applies to many other short and long
creeks in and around Dallas, Texas. It's become such a popular name, it hardly
means anything anymore.
Bridge - There used
to be a wide bicycling path marked in yellow with road humps across the
south side of the bridge that still takes Mockingbird Lane across the north end of White Rock Lake. I suspect there were many accidents. Bicyclers
are not known for following rules, stopping at stop signs
or lights, going the right way on one-way streets, yielding or those
other traffic niceties. Now walkers and some bikers take the Singing Bridge.
Others risk suicide against the sometimes bizarre auto traffic on Mockingbird, but the narrow sidewalks on either side offer interesting views of the lake below and creek above (north) the bridge.. Back
Bridge (below) for a list
of birds seen in that area.
Island - small island under and protruding south from Mockingbird
Bridge. It's been called that since at least the 1980s. Probably,
at one time, Pelicans hung out there. Now they spend most of their
social, preening, daylight and evening rest time in Sunset Bay,
scouting out in all directions. The island disappears in high water, but I've
never seen a pelican there, although they sometimes fish that area
in large, Esther Williams-style synchronized-swimming groups, and
I've often seen them fly over. map
Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets,
Double-crested Cormorants, Muscovy Ducks, Ruddy Ducks can
sometimes be seen from the bridge diving, Mallards and various
gulls. Before the Dog Park was developed on the other side of the bridge, there
were many Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets along the shore on the far left.
Bridge - The biking
and walking bridge immediately south of Mockingbird Bridge. I call it "singing,"
because in any wind, the whole thing hummed loudly — you could feel
the wood boards and metal braces vibrating. But they fixed it, so it doesn't
Not to be confused
with the rhythmic but mostly silent, queasy-uneasy shaking most
bridges experience during and just after joggers or walkers
or even bicyclists cross the bridge. The motion sometimes makes stomachs
queasy and careful photography impossible except at bridge joints where two spans
join. The only White Rock Lake Walking bridge that does not waver is Garland
bridge, although the Bent
not as shaky. map
are not many birds there. I have seen a few American White Pelican fly-overs,
Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Muscovy Ducks, Black- and Yellow-crowned Night
Herons. Sometimes Great Blue Herons (big gray) stand under the trees on the far
(west) side left in the photo above, and very often there's a Great Egret
(big white) fishing under the car bridge, especially on the
west side — unless
somebody's let their dogs loose to swim there, in which case
no birds will be in sight. Dogs are supposed to be on leashes,
but usually are not, and nobody seems to care. Scissor-tailed
Flycatchers are common in the tall weeds up the hill (visible
at the bottom of the photograph above) in late spring and summer, and I have seen a Baltimore Oriole nest in one of the shorter trees to the left of this view of the bridge.
Park - stinky protrusion where we're most likely to find dogs off
leashes, although it's normal, albeit illegal, all around the lake.
Few doggers pick up their poop, and through City design or individual
human neglect, loose dogs are occasionally seen chasing — and catching — birds
in the water. map
Same birds as the Singing Bridge area
above, except many more cormorants south to Cormorant Bay, especially in autumn and winter.
Thistledown Road in 2001 — unleashed
dogs are still common there,
but the tall weeds, amazing biodiversity and thistles are long gone.
Meadows - The walking path around the Dog Park area was once publicized
for its "natural" meadows. Not anymore. The City destroyed
all the Thistle and other exotic plants the place was ripe with.
It smelled better before and was colorful and wildly beautiful with a remarkable
variety of plant life, and a serene sense of separation.
once saw Passion Flowers (the rare squat ones that puff out from
the ground) growing there. But since its northern portion became
a dog park with normal and continuous implementation of the City's
Habitat Destruction Machines, the plant life along that shoreline
have been normalized down to deadly boring with a concrete path. map
so long since I've enjoyed being there that I don't remember
any birds but Great Blue Herons along the east edge, and
egrets near the point of the south shore, although those
rarely show up since the urbanization of what probably only I called Thistledown Meadows. Lots of cormorants,
of course, in autumn and winter, since that once-wild and trail-free area borders
Cormorant Bay, just below.
Bridge - on Lawther south of the so-called Biker's Parking Lot (one
of only two lots on the lake that you have to drive over gravel to get
to). Unlike all other lake walking bridges, it's gray and incorporates
a bend in the middle. It was intended to keep heavy walking traffic
from further destroying the shore, which gets seriously
thinner over the years. A park bench still sits on the west, land
side of the bridge, though it is much less used now, since mostly
what you can see from there is the bridge. map
Cormorants a plenty, gulls and terns of many
species, Great Blue Herons, egrets, coots, Mallards, grebes. Canvas Back and Ruddy ducks in their breeding splendor in mid spring.
Bay - All winter, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of black Double-crested
Cormorants perch in the trees around the upper edges of the bay.
They basically do two things up there, dry their wings from swimming
and diving into the lake, and scat.
When it's cold, that area has the
pungent stench of cormorant scat, which turns the sidewalks, grass
and trees so white it looks like snow. Especially noticeable
at night, there's a loud hiss as the stuff falls through the air and
trees and splats on the ground. Wear a hat or walk fast, and hold your
nose. It's probably the best place in the park to photograph cormorants
Same as Bent Bridge above, which is
in Cormorant Bay.
Heron Park - updated earlier this century to include
a stone bridge over the creek I've watched families
out in the creek slamming away at some poor snake in. I didn't want to call
it Dead Snake Park, but I've often seen Green Herons there, so I called it that.
I named it after a
Green Heron who hunted among the reeds.
It had been there for several years, and I have seen
it on the periphery since. I doubt it approved of all the new concrete. I sure
don't, but in 2013 I saw a Green Heron along the edge
of the lake just north of that park..
Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons along the wet edges; Green Heron(s) there and in the creek. American White Pelicans and Cormorants off the shore, hundreds of Redwing Blackbirds in the reeds around the pier, ducks, etc. In winter, Bufflehead ducks can often be seen off shore from there south to Parrot Bay.
Free Advice Sign
I have finally settled
on the name, Free
Advice Point, because more people identify with the occasional presence
of guys on a blanket or in a small tent there offering free advice. When they are
present, there's a sign. There used to be more benches there than anywhere at
the lake, but the City pulled most of them out and replaced them with handicap-accessible
picnic tables, although the benches were much more comfortable and faced the water. The Point is almost directly across the lake from the
Bath House Cultural Center.
cormorants, Great Egrets, American Coots; I've seen pelicans on a
log well out from there, and others swim by sometimes. Various gulls and terns
Bay - Mistakenly named for the green Monk Parakeets that
fly across the bay several times a day, this area has been called
that since at least the 1980s, and many argue that they are too parrots.
Even KERA-FM's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know Fridays at noon repeatedly claims
they are parrots. But they are not. They are largish Parakeets. map
three separate environments on the various sides of this
tall trees and a big parking lot with a boat launch, small fishing pier and lots
of gulls, coots, egrets and occasional pelicans.
South has more tall trees, hilly grass and two creeks
running through with coots, egrets and a resident Kingfisher
pair who race around screaming their staccato cry before diving in the water
And the West end has zillions of reeds right down to
the water where Great Blue Herons and egrets hide, and Red-winged
Blackbirds flock while American White Pelicans sometimes
swim through looking for fish. On hot summer nights, the
area is alive with a symphony of frogs and insects aplenty. We often stop along
the bay side of the access road, a little toward the road from the porta-potties
just to listen to Nature's symphony, which is especially loud after a heavy rain.
Boat House and
Lagoon from Garland
near Bent Bridge Across the Lake
The Old Boat
House Lagoon - The Boat House used to be a boat house, where fishermen
and others parked their boats. Then for decades it was a favorite
(but dangerous — lots of concrete right angles and murky water)
interior fishing area. Now it looks like an all-White enclave for rich people
with fancy rowing boats and one conspicuous motorboat, whose motor is much
larger than the legal limit of horsepower allowed in boats on White Rock Lake. map.
In the grass along
the right side of the boathouse in the photograph above, I once watched and photographed
a Great Blue Heron deftly strip more than a dozen large fish from an absent fisher-person's
line in the water. It's a regular haunt for the parakeets who live in the
Big Hum (electric
substation) up the hill from the dam.
There used to be many more Yellow-crowned
Night Herons (till a resident of the nearby, upper-crust neighborhood illegally cleared
their rookery from his property (I actually saw him doing it, but it wasn't something I would have photographed at that time, but now it's mostly Black-crowns. Many
Wood Duck pairs raise young in the lagoon on the far side almost
American White Pelicans visit there and even spend cold nights sometimes, large
white shapes like specters in early morning mists. Great Egrets spend early
mornings there, and I once photographed a Summer
Tanager flying quickly up the lagoon.
The Big Hum - The Electric Substation that literally hums is where between dozens to hundreds of green Monk Parakeets reside. The number varies by the weather, and the wind, but mostly by how many of the domiciles the electric company has recently destroyed. There are official signs claiming that they live harmoniously with the parakeets, but it's a sham. The 'keets crowd the area around the electric wires and thingamajigs that either keep the parakeets warm or happy. See Wildlife Damage Management for more about the issue, which is widespread across America, and not just around here.
Pee Hill - Until early 2014 I never considered Tee Pee (named for the Texas Pacific Railroad whose tracks used to go throug there) Hill a separate
area from The New Boat House, and I rarely go there for birds, but birds are
Hawks of several sorts, cormorants, Great Blue Herons. I can't think of anywhere at the lake where American Coots don't sometimes gather. Snowy Egrets often do their hunting/fishing dance near the bridge.
New Boat House - is bigger than the
old one, and I wonder what use it is. It does reflect a lot of light
and even from the east side of the lake, it can be blinding when
the sun is low. Its parking lot seems to be the official parking
area for exclusive parties in the Filter Building, matching red brick and center
in the photo below.
Left to right: The Pump House
at the North End of the
Dam, The Filter Building
and New Boat House from Garland Road. The Big Hum is up the hill and past the woods almost directly behind the Filter Bldg. The pier that's barely visible at the extreme far right is a favorite place for fisher persons, Great Egrets, various sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and has been closed and fenced-off for years and years.
Pump House - used to be where Dallas water was pumped out of the
lake. Most of our potable water now comes from much further away,
and the Old Pump House building has become exclusive offices for
civil servants. Closed to the public and lately policed by rent-a-cops
who prohibit overt photography of the dam for idiot Homeland Security
reasons, to protect us all from the terrorists who have not yet learned
how to use Google Maps.
holds back a lot of water, letting a controlled amount sluice through
the wide Spillway Area, where it turns a sharp left angle south into
White Rock Creek. There was once (and are eventual plans for a replacement)
walking bridge directly over the the dam, connecting the dam walkway with the
all-concrete flood-watching area along Garland Road that got washed
away a few years ago in our latest
"100-year flood" that happens about every decade. It took years to replace that little park, and its tiny parking lot has been replaced by a much larger version downstream on Winstead Drive. map
Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, grackles,
starlings, cormorants, sandpipers, Little Blue Herons, Sandpipers, Killdeer
and other peeps of many varieties, ducks galore, even eagles have been seen in
and over the area.
(The Old Fish Hatchery Area) - used to be a fish hatchery of
large rectangular "pans" of
water for raising fish (the light rectangles on the map above).
It's probably the best area around the lake to find wildlife — both
animals — including
beaver, foxes, rabbits, some middle-sized wild cats, coyotes and a wide
variety of birds. It's
where many Audubon Bird Tours start. It is beautiful and dense with
tall trees. Only trouble is the paths don't necessarily go where you want, and
some don't go anywhere at all. Poison Ivy grows wild all over the northern part toward the Pump House. And there's
all those branches and leaves blocking our avian photographic views. map.
The Fitchery (Anna Palmer renamed it that) is
beautiful, though stifling in summer, a little dangerous with those pans of
water and not much to keep the clumsy from falling in, is
home to countless birds. I've heard that Black-bellied Whistling
Ducks raise their cute little black & white striped, downy young
there. I've often seen egrets and herons, woodpeckers, starlings, robins,
red-wings, grackles, titmice, Mallards and many
other species. Various woodpeckers can be heard,
seen and sometimes photographed.
It's where I photographed Bart
the Barred Owl, and not far away are various Red-tailed and other hawk varieties.
Spillway - spills water along a long concrete apron between land
areas. After it sluices southwest down the spillway,
water is splashed suddenly in a left angle southeast down the Spillway
Steps, emptying into White Rock Creek (the south end) that escapes
over a couple of picturesque water falls through the golf course
and out under I-30. There are several distinct creeks called White Rock Creek in Dallas, and this is the one of them that is actually fed by White Rock Lake. map.
Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons
(adult, juvenile and 1st spring), Tricolored Herons, Black-crowned and
Yellow-crowned Night Herons and juveniles, both Double-crested and Neotropic cormorants, pigeons (of course, they
live under the bridge), sandpipers, acres of Ring-billed Gulls during the winter,
flittering Barn Swallows, Black and Turkey Vultures, and many more species fly
over the area. My Bald Eagle was seen
flying there, also, although I photographed it across the lake at Winfrey Point.
See my new map of The Spillway, The Dam & the Old Fish Hatchery Area below.
Water Subliming from the
Steps - directly west of the Spillway, where water courses
down, surges south over a series of concrete steps to exit under the
walking and automobile bridges on Garland Road into White Rock Creek. In spring
and now that the City's finally finished fixing the Spillways "retaining
walls" that fell in spring of 2006's 100-Year-Flood (after they
let the area between dirt and concrete repeatedly fill with
water), The City blamed the flood. I blame the City which lamely
filled the obvious sink holes with dirt, while the water sluiced down
between the concrete and the earth, practically
guarantying the walls would fall, and they did.), it's the lake's best
and most accessible area for photographing birds — except
maybe around the pier in Sunset Bay. map.
Now that the walking bridge is open
again, it's a fabulous perch to look down from and photograph over the guard
rail. I've spent hours watching Great Blue Herons, Little Blue
Herons, Black- and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, American White Pelicans,
Double-crested and Neotropic cormorants and other species fish there; there's often one cormorant diving on
the deep side along the steps. It should be interesting to see how long the
new "retaining walls" retain, because water still slides down the dirt-sides of those supposedly "retaining" walls, which is why they didn't retain during that episode of our 100-year flood.
Club Bay - Boat Clubs along this area of shoreline. Usually not
many birds, although egrets and Great Blue Herons, wild gooses, Green
Herons, hawks and Muscovy and other ducks, pelicans (especially in the late evening), even hummingbirds are seen in
the tall reeds by water's edge, although we've seen far fewer Muscovies around
the lake in the last couple years (2013); I suspect poachers have been busy,
and it's a shame, because those large-girth ducks are unusually friendly with
humans. I have even seen them fly, but it looks like tremendous effort,
and their flapping sounds like a freight train huffing and puffing. map.
Hill - is
called that, because Mockingbird Lane tops its borders. There are many
more Mockingbirds elsewhere. There's always some at Winfrey Point. Probably
more people call this area Boy Scout Hill, so perhaps there was a jamboree there
Cardinals, Blue Jays, Orioles, and I've heard lots
of reports that pelicans kettle there. I know orioles nest in this area
in spring. There's probably more Scissor-tailed Flycatchers here, especially
along the road down to the Singing Bridge than anywhere else at the lake.
Big Thicket - thick with trees along and extending
from the Yacht Clubs north toward Mockingbird Lane.
Same as the Yacht Club above,
in The Big Thicket.
Bath House Culture Center - an official art and theatre building
sponsored by the City of Dallas, with extensive parking areas for
their and other purposes. map
Mockingbirds (but they're everywhere
at the lake), Red-tailed or Red-shouldered hawks who are
raised nearby, Kestrel pairs hunting the whole area, lots of cormorants and various
terns are seen on the poles of the sculpture in the water behind the building
spring, winter and autumn. Those poles were made for birds to perch on, but they
almost never do in summer. The rest of the year, almost every pole has a cormorant
or gull or tern. Early one May I remember seeing dozens of Great Egrets flying
against great winds along the coast between the Bath House and Dreyfuss Point.
Point - Once one of two social buildings along the edge of the lake.
Many weddings and other parties were held there till it burned down
in the autumn of 2006 when the Fire Department couldn't find it.
Before the old Dreyfuss Social Club
burned down, the roof was usually rife with crows. My great
shot of a crow knocking a juvenile hawk out of the air, was taken there.
The only time I've seen a Great
Blue Heron tall in a tall tree was there, and the power lines
often have various birds, including an American Kestrel who still hunts in winter
along the shore. I've often photographed Red-tailed
and Red-shouldered hawks there. It seems to be a natural hawk hunting ground,
and often in winter, pairs of American Kestrel, either singly or together,
hunt from the elevated wires or tall trees there and up the coast toward The
Bath House Cultural Center.
I've also sometimes seen Buffleheads, all the local herons, cormorants and many other species..
Several creeks feed into the lake through this densely wooded area where
many herons and egrets, Turkey- and Black-Vultures may be found.
Raucous domestic goose noise often fills
the area, but also at least one Great Blue Heron,
a Great Egret, several Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures
have been seen there. That's where I shot a Red-winged Blackbird
chasing a Black (I think) Vulture, several little herons — Yellow-
and Black-crowned, and both Red-tailed and Red-shouldered hawks,
and various owls. And I'm pretty sure that's where the coyotes den, they've been
seen sunning on the concrete, especially in the deep of winter, during their
West into The Setting Sun from Sunset Bay
Bay is probably the second most wildlife diverse part of the lake
(second-only to the Fitchery, which is much more labor-intensive
to visit), because it is naturally protected from cold north winds and offers
a variety of land and vegetation types. map.
to the year-long presence of 70+ liberated domestic gooses
and multitudes of ducks, it's where the Egrets sometimes
sleep (hundreds of them, well away from shore), and it is winter home to
our annual 6-7-month winter vacation for a large population
of American White Pelicans (whose tags indicate they spend the rest of the year
offshore from British Columbia, Canada, southeastern Idaho, the Dakotas, and east to Minnesota) from mid-September
or mid-October through Tax Day. I've counted as many as 300 pelicans there, although
many of those were just visiting.
Other birds that have been sighted there include: both Neotropic and
Double-crested Cormorants, all five of our local varieties of herons — Great
Blues, Little Blues, Green, Yellow- and Black-crowned Night Herons,
all our egrets — Great, Snowy and Cattle, one female Anhinga, woodpeckers, Red-winged
Blackbirds, Grackles, Mallards, Muscovies, (not so much anymore; I suspect that
easy to catch species has been seriously poached), gooses, Avocets (a whole
flock of them has visited at least three times), various sandpipers, Black-bellied
Whistling Ducks, Cedar Waxwings, Egyptian Gooses, Wood Ducks, one repeat-visiting male Northern Pintail, Gadwall pairs, Buffleheads for as long as one day, Chiloé Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeons, Hooded Mergansers, Lesser Scaups
in late autumn and winter (4-6 males, with ocassional visits by one female for a day
or two), Monk Parakeets, Killdeer, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks — both of which are hatched in the area, both
Turkey and Black Vultures and one or both of a Belted Kingfisher pair can sometimes be heard and — more rarely — seen. And Bald Eagles.
I've seen dozens of Cedar Waxwings drunk
on berries in what I call Sunset Forest and other photographers call Hooterville (after the variety of owls), up the hill toward
the apartment buildings near Garland Road, and lots of hawks and Kestrel and
owls and a surprising variety of little birds in the thick of the forest..
Point - The other social building, where firemen repeatedly went
when they couldn't find Dreyfuss as its social building burned down, also offers
a high point for photographing and viewing the lake, especially during storms.
Several festivals are held in the largish parking lot, and it's a great place
to watch firework displays around the city on July 4.
Red-tailed Hawks, pairs of
American Kestrels hunt there in winters, an Osprey, Great Horned Owls, mockingbirds
aplenty, grackles, Killdeer nest where overflow-parking is allowed on the
grass for rich-people-parties, Bald Eagles, at least one pair of Yellow-headed Blackbirds
visit in both spring and fall, Red-winged Blackbirds,
jillions of Purple Martins, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers — who repeatedly nest there, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Brown-headed
Cowbirds and starlings. There's often a hawk and less and less often an American Kestrel or pair of
them hunting from the high wire across the lake-side of the parking lot.
Drive - The name of the one-lane drive is actually East Lawther. I used to call it "Arboretum Drive," but since The Arboretum attempted to turn adjacent swaths of White Rock Lake Park into parking lots only for their use (Dallas citizen voted that down.), I haven't wanted to promote them by calling it that anymore. What used to be the richer-than-God DeGoyler's estate,
is now Dallas' Arboretum, which you pay to get into to see flowers and
creeks and trees and misters misting them. Usually there's sculpture,
fountains, pools and such. There's an incredibly cheap-looking
"Western Town" area complete with a Indian-like teepee down by
the lake, and lately a kid park, where they cut down great large trees to be replaced by large metal ones (which seems odd for a place named after trees) with rides and a tram threaten to turn adjacent
areas of the park into parking lots.
SAVE White Rock Lake — PAVE the Arboretum.
seen anything but Great-tailed Grackles on the grounds themselves, and I'm not
excited about paying to look at flowers, when they're everywhere else for
free, but they do have free concerts that noise up the lake on Thursday nights
in the summer. I guess the folks on the grounds pay for the privilege,
but dozens to hundreds of canoers, kayakers and people in small fishing boats
gather out from the coast at the western edge to attend it.
In the water
along there, I've seen thousands of Ruddy Ducks,
small flotillas of Bufflehead ducks, coots galore, Mallards,
Gadwalls, Pintails, Pied-billed grebes, a few Horned Grebes and sometimes even a rare
pair or whole family of the exotic Eared Grebes, as well as Great Egrets, grackles, starlings, Cardinals, Great Blue and Green and Tricolored Herons, but I've
never seen any of all those birds present when they blast their unnaturally loud music.
I have never been a fan of the arborectum, except when they used to show work by Dallas sculptors, and my antipathy continues. I think some brave soul should shred their ugly signs. No one else is allowed to post signs advertising events at the Lake.
Bridge - a small walking
bridge of the high, rusted iron sides variety, the only one
at the lake that does not heave queasily when joggers run over it. Back
Great Egrets, grackles, starlings,
Barn Swallows, Green Herons, American White Pelicans, gulls and
My New Map (on Google's) of The Fitchery & The Spillway
Google Map Original Screen Capture Significantly Altered and Corrected by J R Compton
Till the day I put this together, I had never thought of actually using a map to show you where "The Fitchery" [what Anna calls The Old Fish Hatchery Area] and the Spillway & The Dam were, but it may be the only intelligent way to get this info across. I blotched out store names and some other stuff I didn't want to see off to the bottom left.
Under "Middle Spillway," what Google calls White Rock Creek is the dark blue area under the title. And that part of that White Rock Creek (There are many quite different White Rock Creeks in Dallas), seriously comingles with water coming down off the dam after rains. But essentially, this map is more accurate now.