Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birding the Furlough

I was really hoping that I wouldn't need to post this, but...

National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges are AMAZING. They are essentially frozen in time right now due to the government shutdown. Except instead of time freezing with them, money has stopped flowing and it's a slow starvation.

Aside from the obvious travesty of political stupidity, it's also slowly squeezing the communities that depend on the National Parks and NWRs; all of the above has been squeezed since 2009 due to budget cuts and this shutdown is not helping.

A few folks who were planning on visiting Big Bend National Park have already been diverted - their options are surprising, all things considered.

*** all of these links exist in the side bar with additional information!

Balmorhea Lake - bring a scope, pay the $5/person fee and bird the edge of desert on the edge of water

Balmorhea State Park - small park, but promising large cottonwoods for fall migrants

* San Solomon Springs wetlands - not sure how they're doing this time of year, might be worth checking into

Big Bend Ranch State Park - west of the park, north of the border, an excellent option for river corridor access with plenty of scenery

CMO / Christmas Mountains Oasis - south county at its finest, but without the hikes!

CDRI / Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute - this is a must see; between the cactus gardens, hummingbird feeders, canyon trails and mixed elevation species, a small daily fee is entirely worthwhile

Davis Mountains State Park - closed for renovations until March 2014! Indian Lodge remains open, however, so living vicariously is still an option

Mountain Trails Lodge - hummingbird feeders and excellent desert grassland habitat are literally right outside the door!

L.E. Woods picnic area / Madera Canyon trail (TNC property) - near the observatory, always an excellent stop for Davis Mts birds and bugs

Post Park - 5 miles south of Marathon, Post Road can be quite productive as well

Prairie Dog Town - 10 miles north of Hwy 90 on Hwy 385, excellent spot for raptor viewing

* Marathon treatment ponds can be birded with prior arrangements; please email us before your trip!

Gray Fox, sitting in the shade, also waiting for the furlough to end.

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