I had really been looking forward to oding the cienega there. From there I went to the Sandia Wetlands. Had that place all to myself. No water, no people, no odes....
Also there were a couple of Eastern Ringtails. I think that second one looks different because of the lighting, but I'll find out from the experts.
And a female Widow Skimmer.
Even the canal in downtown Balmorhea was crowded with people. I'd never seen people there in the water before.
Next I decided to go out to Lake Balmorhea and look in the tall grasses below the dam. I doused myself liberally with DEET. When I got to the lake it was packed with people. Determined to get some fun oding in somewhere, I went to the office to pay the fee. After all, the people were in the lake and on the edge of the lake, but they wouldn't be in the swamp below the dam, I reasoned. However, a sign on the office door had a bunch of new rules and warnings, so I decided to just cut my losses and head home. It mentioned several roads being closed due to vandalism and theft, stated no parking on the dam, etc. Parking on the dam was about the only way I could access where I wanted to go. So, I left without paying the entrance fee.
Lately oding has been difficult. Shafter has new keep out signs and no water. Madera Canyon, no water. Marathon, chiggers. Lajitas and Bishop Wetlands are decent, but mostly the same old species I always get. It may pick up later in the summer. Thinking seriously about going to Fort Clark Springs or somewhere once my CMO tanks get filled up to where I dare to venture farther afield.
UPDATE: Experts said that second "Eastern Ringtail" is actually a Sulphur-tipped Clubtail, which is a lifer for me even though it's a common species. Glad I finally got it even if I didn't know it at the time. Totally redeemed my day!.