Lemmon Lake, tucked deep within the Joppa Preserve in southwest Dallas,  is a constantly fluctuating landscape. It fills and dries frequently based on cycles of rain and drought. When we visited last August, the lake was quickly drying but still maintained some large, shallow pools:

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Lemmon Lake, August 2016

Today provided a different scene, as most of the water had dried completely, providing for opportunities to locate some cool finds.

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Lemmon Lake, February 2017

My main target today was the bones of alligator gar, some fierce-looking fish that are common in this area but not always easy to find.

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On our way in, I spotted some type of mistletoe clumped high in the tree canopy. Thankfully my wife was there to sneak in a moment! 😉

Mistletoe is spread by perching birds that deposit its seeds either through their droppings or by wiping their bills on these host trees while they feed.

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Croix,the Italian greyhound, was not so enamored, and hurried us off to the lake bed, where he eagerly sniffed for treasure…

…And sure enough, he was the first to find our target species!

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This alligator gar did not survive the drought season, but made for a cool find.

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Look at those rows of teeth!

Another interesting discovery was the several large crayfish sprinkled around in the dirt. The metroplex also hosts many  terrestrial crayfish, which construct fascinating homes. I’ll have to show them to you soon.

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On the way out, we stumbled across a large and beautiful ribbon snake sunning in the path. A beautiful day for Dallas wildlife!

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 Also seen:

 Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

Jadera Beetle

Full Bird List:

Wood Duck, Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Anerican Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Harris’s Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Common Grackle, Great-tailed Grackle, House Finch

Ever explored a dried lake bed? Let me know what you’re seeing out there!

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