Thursday, February 2, 2012

West Texas

Our trip through far Southeastern Arizona and New Mexico was a bit chilly and only a few birds were found.  A couple nights had temps down to 18 degrees.  We did see Scaled Quail and Sage Thrasher plus a great look at a gray fox curled up in the branches of a pine tree about 12 feet off the ground at the cemetery in Deming, NM.

Drove through a dust storm near El Paso on our way to spend 3 days at Davis Mountain (pictured at left) State Park. Highlights: Montezuma Quail, nightly visitors to our campsite were 19 Javelinas (pictured left, below) a gray fox and a striped skunk (luckily stink free).

 Drove south to the 800,000 acre Big Bend National Park, staying 2 days at Cottonwood campground.  We spent a day at Santa Elena Canyon with its 1,000 foot walls towering above the Rio Grande.  This Roadrunner posed while warming his back in the morning sun.  After 8 hours of searching, we were rewarded with a life bird - the Nutting's Flycatcher.  On the southeastern edge of Big Bend is the Boquillas Canyon where the sheer canyon walls flanked the Rio Grande resounded with the song of the Canyon Wren and a local Mexican vocalist hoping for a donation.
Following the Rio Grande southeast, we stopped at San Ygnacio bird sanctuary where we encountered the tropical South Texas birds: Chachalacas, Green Jays, and Kiskadees.  A stop at Zapata for the White-collared Seedeaters was successful with 11 birds.  Then to Falcon State Park for a 6 day stay in the desert with a couple trips to Salineno.  We had nightly serenades by the coyotes and Pauraques.  The picture to the right are Kiskadees (up to 35 at once) at the Salineno feeders where we were treated also by the rare Brown Jay, Audubon, Hooded & Altimira Orioles; White-tipped, White-winged, Inca & Com. Ground Doves.  We also spent many hours watching along the Rio Grande where we found another "life bird" - a Red-billed Pigeon.  There was a nice group of people at Falcon that we joined for Pot Luck supper and a music night where Ida joined in with a few songs on the Q-Chord.

Adios amigos from the Rio Grande Valley,   Ty & Ida

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