Saturday, April 12, 2014

Big Bend National Park in a nutshell

The Texbirds post:

Where to begin! Eleven days of mostly river and lowlands...

I was not in the high elevations, so can only say that Elf Owls and Common Poorwills are calling at night at the Chisos Basin campground, with Black-chinned Sparrows during the day. Common Black Hawk is back at Rio Grande Village, Gray Hawk is working between Gaging Station (do NOT suggest River Road) and Santa Elena. A Couch's Kingbird is present among Westerns at Cottonwood, Lucy's Warblers are thin along the river but should hopefully thicken in a week before thinning out again. RGV and Cottonwood both have Western Screech and Great Horned and Elf Owls and there were HUNDREDS of White-throated Swifts visible from the bridge on the RGV nature trail with a token Violet-green Swallow mid afternoon day before yesterday. Or the day before that. Brain is fried and I am hearing doves in my sleep!

There's a pair of Golden Eagles half way between Persimmon Gap and Marathon that seem quite interested in each other, if anyone has a hard time at the prairie dog town.

Inaccessible but photo'd in the last few months: Montezuma Quail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (via Laird, at the Barton Warnock VC), and Gambel's Quail on the westernmost edge of BBNP - I managed a shoddy audio recording, though i suppose a video of a calling mesquite counts as pic. My sketch of the sonograph is shameful ;)

Drink water.

Heidi Trudell
Marathon, TX


Of course, the replies I got were asking about Lucifer Hummingbird (just go to the Christmas Mountains Oasis, it's easier than trying to find one in the park) and Colima Warbler (still a few days too early, and I wasn't up there, so... no. The answer is no.) But otherwise, that's the condensed version. The longer version is below.

Far western edge of Big Bend National Park, facing east.
Santa Elena transect, facing SW.
Gaging Station camp site, looking north.
Dominguez Trailhead camp site, looking north.
Del Nitos, if I am not mistaken, south of the Chisos, from the south.
The Beagle, a Ford Expedition. Schooner of the precambrian seas.
Ideal transect terrain, if lucky. That really distant mountain range is Mexico's border wall.
Post-transect: Rio Grande to the left, Mexico to the right.
Fun topography, best pic I could get of the easiest slope up from the wash.
Next up: Amistad. I am juggling bird surveys when not at the library and at the library when not juggling bird surveys and trying to get a truck repaired. No rest for the weary, but at least it is good exercise in beautiful country with excellent birds and a sense of adventure. And I'm not dead yet, so that's a perk. BBNP tends to be less than forgiving, so drink your water and don't push your luck!


  1. Lovely pictures of a wonderful area. Can't wait to go back.

  2. It'll only be a day, but I'm tremendously looking forward to exploring what I can of the Big Bend area in a couple of months.