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.