This morning I drove over near Pottsboro, TX to visit the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. It covers 11,320 acres on the Big Mineral Arm of Lake Texoma. It is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. They farm 600 acres of milo and corn to feed the birds during cold weather. They also drain the marshes in spring and summer to promote growth of wild millet, sedges and smartweeds. Then the marshes are flooded again in the fall so the ducks can have easy access to food. (www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/txrefuges.html)
This is not the best time to visit the refuge because the birds don't start migrating until September or later. However, I did see a few egrets, least terns and other birds. I’d like to visit during the fall when there are huge flocks of birds. I saw photos of them when they nearly covered the marshes and ponds. At the visitor center I had a nice conversation with the volunteer on duty. He provided a lot of helpful information and also recommended a place to eat lunch, De Happy Cajun Restaurant on FM 120 between Pottsboro and Fink. All my taste buds stood at attention! There is an interesting display of animal skulls, jaw bones and antlers; bird feathers; and turtle shells. There is also a mounted bald eagle. It had flown into a transformer station and was electrocuted. Employees of Shell Oil Company paid for the mount.
I took the driving tour and stopped at several places. At one point a coyote crossed the road in front of me but, before I could stop to get his picture, he disappeared in the brush. A particularly nice spot was the Dead Woman Pond. It is an easy walk only a half mile off the road on Goode Foot Access Trail.
As one might expect, there are many stories about how the pond came to be given this name. According to one story, a farmer and his much younger, attractive wife were scraping out a living in Grayson County. The wife had not been seen for a while. A neighbor had noticed the farmer driving his wagon down to the pond with a large bundle in the back. The bundle was missing when he returned home. That's when the locals began calling it Dead Woman Pond. No one knows what happened to the farmer.
On the way home from the Refuge I stopped at a station for a little break. On a whim I bought some pickled quail eggs. I had seen regular hen’s eggs done this way but never other eggs. Located conveniently next to the station was a produce stand. I bought several kinds of veggies, as well as some peaches and a jar of cherry jam. Then it was on to De Happy Cajun for a late lunch of crawfish etouffee. The food was good and I brought home half of it. Doing this keeps me from overeating.