This lake next to Meacham International Airport is a great place to see shorebirds, waterfowl, Least Terns, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, sparrows, and many other birds.
By Gail Morris | Published: 8/21/2009
It may be in an odd location — next to an airport and at the edge of a freeway — but Cement Creek Reservoir can provide a satisfying day of birding in most seasons. Waterfowl gather by the hundreds on the lake every winter. And shorebirds and Least Terns are the main attractions during migration. In summer, Cliff Swallows nest in a culvert near the north end of the lake.
In winter, when I walk down the gravel road leading to the lake, sparrows often fly up and disappear in the short grasses. Along the edge of the water, where rocks and grasslands intermix, I typically have better looks at Vesper, Savannah, and — on occasion — Le Conte’s Sparrows. American Pipits and Horned Larks often occur in small groups on the west slope. Birders have also reported small flocks of McCown’s and Lapland Longspurs swirling over the slopes and grassy areas. In November 2007, a Sprague’s Pipit hung around for several days.
Waders and dabblers are hard to miss, but the real prize for me is a day of hundreds of ducks floating on the water. Scope views of many species provide for long leisurely studies of waterfowl. — Gail Morris
Gail Morris is past president of the Fort Worth Audubon Society. She also wrote about the Village Creek Drying Beds, Fort Worth, Texas, Hotspot Near You No. 45, and Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Sherman, Texas, No. 86.
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Short and tall grasslands, wetlands, gravel road, lake, small willow trees.
Uneven walking path on rock and grasslands. Some slopes.
Summer: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Cliff Swallow, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron. Fall: Early ducks, Pied-billed Grebe, shorebirds, and sparrows. Winter: Green- and Blue-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Canvasback, Redhead, grebes, Spotted Sandpiper, Marsh Wren, sparrows. Spring: Lingering ducks, waders, migrating sandpipers, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Year-round: Killdeer, Red-tailed Hawk, grackles, Red-winged Blackbird. Rarities: King Rail, Sora, White-faced Ibis, McCown’s and Lapland Longspurs, Le Conte’s Sparrow.
When to go
Spring and fall for shorebirds, terns, and ducks. Winter for greatest variety of ducks, as well as sparrows and wrens.
Just the birds! Restaurants and gas stations east of the airport on Meacham Blvd.
City-owned airport reservoir. No fees. Open during daylight hours.
Bring a spotting scope. Look for Le Conte’s Sparrow in the grasslands north and west of the lake. Depending on the time of day, I head in the direction where I’m most likely to avoid glaring sunlight on the water. Watch your step near the south end of lake; trails become wet, and it’s easy to end up ankle-deep in water. No shade, so come prepared.