Saturday, April 3, 2021

Concho River Walk - San Angelo, Texas

The Concho River has three main forks that feed into it (see the map below). 
Map of Concho River from Wikipedia. 
The North Concho flows in from the northwest, beginning northwest of Sterling City. The North Concho flows into the O. C. Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo State Park, northwest of San Angelo, and then flows through San Angelo and for four miles is the Concho River Walk. The South Concho and Middle Concho meet six miles southwest of San Angelo in the Twin Buttes Reservoir. From there they combine and flow north to meet the North Concho in San Angelo east of the Concho River Walk and west of Goodfellow Air Force Base. The combined three forks then travel east about 58 miles where the Concho empties into the Colorado River within O. H. Ivie Lake, 12 miles east of Paint Rock, Texas. 

I think the four mile Concho River Walk through downtown San Angelo is the greatest urban park I've ever visited. Portions of it are wild with native trees and grasses and portions are surrounded by landscaped areas with trees, beautifully placed rocks, grass and walking trails. We spent several hours walking along a portion of the River Walk and below are photos of some of the wildlife we encountered:
We parked off S. Irving Street near Bart Dewitt Park. There we encountered the great-tailed grackle, also known as the Mexican grackle, a species we saw in Villahermosa, Mexico. It seemed to be everywhere in the trees near the parking lot.  

Next we looked out into the Concho River and saw lots of ducks swimming, primarily northern shovelers. 

However, mixed in were ducks I'd never seen before including the gadwall, with a distinctive black bill...

...and the ring-necked duck with a purple head, orange eye, gray bill with a black tip and white outline and stipe and black and white body. 

Under the S. Chadbourne Street bridge, east from where we began, we encountered lots of rock pigeons. 

As we walked further east along the north side of the river we saw a number of fox squirrels in the trees and on the grass grounds. 

We also saw a Rio Grande ground squirrel, a first for me. 

Then, one of the more interesting finds, were a bunch of double crested cormorants congregated at a small dam in the river over which it flowed and then dropped about 10 feet. It was under the S. Oakes Street bridge. I was particularly excited to see one in breeding plumage with little ear-flaps sticking out from its head, something I'd not witnessed before. 

At one end of the dam we also got quite close to a beautiful great blue heron. 

We then hit an undeveloped section along the river and found several people fishing along the bank. We also found more birds, including this male northern cardinal...

...and this female northern cardinal. 

Beyond the Rio Concho Drive bridge was an undeveloped section where we looked down and found cormorants standing on tree limbs all along the river. I saw at least one neotropic cormorant and many, many double crested cormorants. We turned around and back-tracked the same section we'd just walked, west along the Concho.

As we walked back the way we'd come and then beyond, west past the S. Irving Street bridge, we encountered a great egret which flew across the river.  

A pied-billed grebe swam by itself while nearby ducks swam in groups. 

Then we started to encounter a number of misfit ducks and geese. This muscovy duck was among them. 

I thought these dark ducks with green heads might be a cross between a mallard and a black duck. However, reviewers at iNaturalist say it is a domestic mallard. 

I thought this might be a cross between a Muscovy duck and a mallard. Again, the reviewers say it is a domestic mallard, but I'm wondering if it might be a cross between a domestic mallard and a domestic Muscovy duck. 

This looks like a domestic mallard which is a lighter version of a female mallard. 

This is a Pekin duck, bred in China and domesticated from a mallard for egg and meat production. It was brought to the U.S. in 1873 and is now the most popular commercial duck breed. 

This is a mallard, probably domesticated because it was hanging out with the other domesticated ducks on the bank.

This graylag goose is a domesticated version of the wild graylag found in Europe. It was hanging out with the domestic ducks on land. 

An exciting find was a nutria swimming in the river. I wasn't sure if it was a beaver, muskrat or otter. 

After it went around a bend in the river it landed and we got quite close to it. Judy was the one who identified it as a nutria. 

It was starting to get late and we wanted to go over to the International Waterlily Collection on the west side of the Concho, further west on the west side of the river just past the north side of the Beauregard Ave bridge. 
April is prime time for the waterlilies, but we did see one in bloom. 

And we saw a group of domesticated ducks and geese from a distance and I took a photo of this swan goose, a domesticated version of the wild goose which is found in Mongolia, China and Russia. 

I would love to have spent more time along the Concho River Walk and in San Angelo itself. We were there on a Monday when many of the things we wanted to see were closed. 

1 comment:

  1. This was a really beautiful, well-developed, well-cared for, and completely uncommercialized river walk. There wasn't even an ice cream truck. In addition to the abundance of wildlife, I loved the waterfalls built into the sides and the numerous deck-like areas for sitting/meditating. A gem.