This post has been slightly reformatted for the blog, but is being re-posted from Texbirds with Christian's permission (thank you!)
GMNP and Davis Mountains last week - possible Gray Hawk
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015
Sorry for the belated post. Had a great birding/hiking/camping trip last week out in West Texas with friends Matt Melendez and Michael Falconer mainly at Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Davis Mountains. Lots of rain. Hail and rain cut our time a little short in the back country, but we re-located to Davis Mountains and had a good time.
Monday 7/20/15 Short afternoon stop at McDonald Observatory, over to Van Horn, and up to GMNP.
Highlights included Hepatic Tanager pair at McDonald Observatory, and a big flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds at Van Horn Cemetery. And steaks to go from Van Horn Steak House. Also eBird was upset at two Scissor-tailed Flycatchers at the cemetery. Pine Springs at GMNP has an active pair of Summer Tanagers, also great views of Blue Grosbeaks and Scott’s Orioles in the evening sunset. After dark had great looks at Common Poorwills near Frijole Ranch, as well as two huge magnificent meteors, one red and one blazing green, right after another. Matt the astronomer was pumped, as were we. Shockingly exhilarating.
Tuesday 7/21/15 up to Tejas Campground
At around 6:40 drove over to the rest area east of the park and saw the breeding Hooded Orioles, including at least one youngster. Started hike up to high country at around 9:00 AM, but it was not to warm on the hike; packs made it pretty hot and sweaty though. Highlights of the hike in included loads of singing Black-chinned Sparrows, a soaring Peregrine Falcon (bird of the trip for Falconer) and getting acquainted with the high country birds like Cordilleran Flycatcher and Pygmy Nuthatches.
Wednesday 7/22/15 Tejas Campground to Bowl and down
Woke up real early to hear the Mexican Whip-poor-wills. No owls. Hiked up to the bowl, hearing and seeing more of the high country birds including Warbling Vireo, Golden Eagle, a single Virginia’s Warbler, a pair of Pine Siskins, a Zone-tailed Hawk, but no Grace’s Warbler. Also found a tree that had exploded from lightning.
Thursday 7/23/15 Davis Mountains
Spend half the day at the Davis Mountains. No Montezuma Quail, but had Zone-tailed Hawks at the State Park and at Madera Canyon Trail. Here we also had 2 Gray Flycatchers. Had the Common Black-Hawk family along Limpia Creek. On the way out we also briefly saw a small buteo that was probably a Gray Hawk, (before reaching Wild Rose Pass) but only had a split second view as it flew by into the cottonwoods. Stopped and turned around but were never able to relocate it. Clearly a small buteo, with a boldly banded tail. Shape unlike Zone-tailed, and appeared more pale. Oh well maybe someone else will find it.
Also had a Zone-tailed Hawk just east of Ozona in Crockett County.
Begin forwarded message:
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: eBird Report - Guadalupe Mts. NP--The Bowl, Jul 22, 2015
> Date: July 28, 2015 at 7:41:48 PM CDT
> To: email@example.com
> Guadalupe Mts. NP--The Bowl, Culberson, Texas, US
> Jul 22, 2015 5:00 AM - 4:00 PM
> Protocol: Traveling
> 9.6 mile(s)
> Comments: Birding with Michael Falconer and Matthew Melendez. Walked from Tejas Campground up the Juniper Trail, spent a lot of time in the bowl, walked the entire Bowl Trail, and then back out to the top of Bear Canyon. Clear, with some clouds, calm, 50 degrees in the morning, slowly warming up to 80 degrees about. Couldn't find a Grace's Warbler for the life of us. Damn. One of the best spots was by the creek in the Bowl which had water and constantly had birds coming in to a little pool by the spot in the trail where it pulls a u from going north-east to west.
> 40 species
> Turkey Vulture 4
> Golden Eagle 1 AD soaring in from the north over McKittrick Ridge (?) near lightning struck pine on Juniper Trail almost to Bowl. Wowie.
> Cooper's Hawk 2
> Zone-tailed Hawk 1 Nice adult soaring over the bowl
> Red-tailed Hawk 2
> Mexican Whip-poor-will 2 HO in Tejas Campground. Would only sing song once before shutting up for fifteen minutes or so.
> White-throated Swift 8
> Broad-tailed Hummingbird 5
> Rufous Hummingbird 1 Brilliant male briefly seen feeding at red flowers
> Acorn Woodpecker 2 At the creek in the Bowl
> Hairy Woodpecker (Rocky Mts.) 1 HO in Tejas Campground
> Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) 6
> Western Wood-Pewee 12 Loads in the open areas in the bowl
> Cordilleran Flycatcher 17 Mainly HO
> Ash-throated Flycatcher 1 Heard up in the Bowl
> Plumbeous Vireo 4
> Warbling Vireo 1 HO on Juniper Trail
> Steller's Jay 4 HO
> Violet-green Swallow 12 Flying high above the bowl. Definitely not WTSW
> Mountain Chickadee 46
> Bushtit (Interior) 20
> White-breasted Nuthatch 7
> Pygmy Nuthatch 17
> Brown Creeper 1
> Rock Wren 4 Family at Hunter Peak
> Canyon Wren 1 HO from Hunter Peak on outer face of range
> House Wren 8
> Western Bluebird 3
> Hermit Thrush 14
> Virginia's Warbler 1 M in the very top of a pine in the bowl. Flew in from a while a way, stayed for two minutes and then flew on. Out of habitat and acting like it.
> Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 3 At the creek in the Bowl
> Spotted Towhee 9
> Rufous-crowned Sparrow 2
> Chipping Sparrow 2
> Black-chinned Sparrow 1 1 imm at the very top of Hunter Peak at about 8,300 ft. Crazy?
> Dark-eyed Junco (Red-backed) 9
> Hepatic Tanager 1
> Western Tanager 4
> Pine Siskin 2 A pair at the creek in the Bowl
> Lesser Goldfinch 3 In the Bowl
> View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24414520
> This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
Oh and also heard a Bell’s Vireo singing along Hwy 54 south to Van Horn on 7/22/15.
Many thanks to Christian Walker of Austin, TX for graciously allowing us to re-post his trip notes!