Daily Archives: January 14, 2011

Bad Winter Blooms Kill Fish on the Brazos

Beginning last weekend, more than the usual pair of random vultures began cruising the skies above the Brazos River out back of our place. By Monday maybe three dozen turkey vultures had set up camp in the trees along the river. The last time this happened was in February 2009 during what turned out to be a fairly major fish kill caused by toxins from Golden Algae.

Vultures float high in the sky, scouting for some tasty dead fishBefore I had time to go down to the riverbank and investigate, I saw a long jon boat heading upriver. As this was about 7:30 on a cold morning, I surmised only the Texas Fish & Game Guys would be out this time of day.

After I brought the kids home from school on Monday, we went down and checked out the river. The only visible dead fish was small and looked like a shad. But the birds were out in force. Along with the vultures were probably eight or 10 pairs of red-shouldered hawks, a great blue heron and numerous seagulls – which don’t normally range this far inland. The hawks were diving into the water and coming up with small fish, which I suspect were dying but not dead.

I didn’t have a camera with me, but here’s a composite photo from the 2009 fish-kill episode.

The increased bird activity continues; yesterday afternoon I was supervising as the boy took some BB gun target practice and the girl goofed around on a swing set. Out of nowhere a hawk slashed through one of the big pecans next to us, Continue reading »

Posted in Brazos River, Nature