Town Lake/Lady Bird Lake

I had to go downtown to return Exupery’s library books so I thought I would take a walk along the trail that runs through Austin’s greenbelt. This bridge is one of my favorite spots.

walking bridge

I like to watch the turtles and snakes that live underneath. The reptiles are still on strike against my camera though so when I paused at the bridge I had to make do with some shots of a green heron instead:

green herongreen heron6

Of course I missed the two best shots! The one where the heron caught a tiny silvery fish and the other of the guy standing next to me who gaped in astonishment. =)

The Lake

The body of water beneath the downtown area of Austin was constructed in 1960. I think everyone in Austin treasures this space. I believe the water originally came from the Colorado River. I’m not sure what to call it. The reservoir used to be called Town Lake but after Lady Bird Johnson died it was renamed in her honor even though she said that would make her uncomfortable. I admire Mrs. Johnson’s conservation efforts so I would hate to do something that would betray her wishes.

I don’t know if she was being modest or if there were other issues. For example, the park trails are not fully ADA accessible and that was one of her causes.  To be fair, the city has made some changes to improve accessibility.

For those not burdened with mobility issues, the greenbelt includes lots of jogging and biking trails. I prefer to walk and it really is a refreshing oasis though a bit of a guilty pleasure. After all, that water came from some place that might have wanted or needed it for more than recreational purposes. I suspect this fact was one of Lady Bird’s (perhaps secret) objections to having her name attached. Big projects like our lake, dams, agriculture and fracking (!) are killing the Colorado River and all the lives that depend on it. The Colorado River doesn’t even normally make it to the ocean anymore because of our unsustainable practices combined with the pressure of this drought. A good but depressing summary of some of the problems can be found here.


9 thoughts on “Town Lake/Lady Bird Lake

    1. Thanks for saying so. The lightning isn’t perfect, the branch overhead is in the wrong place but I think some of the bird’s beauty is still there to see. =)


  1. Competing water use demands are and always have been divisive in Texas. I get why you consider Town Lake a guilty pleasure but that body of water and its shores are areas I share and treasure, along with thousands of others. I can’t imagine Austin without it.

    I’m glad some of the fauna were cooperative – we are all beneficiaries. Your heron shots are wondrous. The plumage! Those colors and the outlined feathers. Simply gorgeous.


    1. Thank you! It really was a beautiful bird and you should have seen the look on that guy’s face! Wish I’d captured it. I do treasure Town Lake. I don’t know if it was responsible or not but since the deed is done we ought to do everything in our power to protect it. One thing I didn’t show in those bird shots was how much litter surrounded him. I cropped it off. I wonder now about doing that …


    1. Heh. Thanks. But the snakes are beautiful, too. I swear! And the turtles make really cool architectural structures with their bodies. Where I grew up there were no snakes so I guess I think they are exotic.


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