Just back from a fabulous two-week roadtrip to Big Bend National Park, the Hill Country, and San Antonio, highlights of which included my target birds of scissor-tailed flycatcher and painted bunting, but also added nesting Gray Hawk and Eastern Screech-Owl, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Verdin, Little Blue Heron, huge numbers of Cedar Waxwings, astonishing wildflowers, and some amazing damselflies. Will post a few of the pictures here, but for more check out My Texas Page .
Surely others have noticed this sleeping giant on their way to Cottonwood Campground in Big Bend, no?
I stayed at both Rio Grande Village and the Cottonwood Campgrounds, both of which were pretty lively with birds. Had hoped to see a Common Black-Hawk I’d first seen there a few years ago, but no luck. The nesting Gray Hawk was a lifer for me and thoughtfully posed for a picture.
Keeping an eye on things was this rather sedate Turkey Vulture.
Roadrunners were quite busy looking for handouts and were quite approachable at the Rio Grande Village, including this one that almost got too close to focus on.
Although there weren’t many birds at Santa Elena Canyon, there was just a party going on with mating damselflies, doing their thing in dense clouds of several species.
This one was particularly cool, flashing that red light every now and then.
Both the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and Verdin paused long enough for me to get good pictures of them.
On the Verdin, you can even see that little rusty shoulder patch.
After a few days in Big Bend, it was on to Alpine where I’d planned to meet some friends who unfortunately had to cancel (tho I did catch up with them in Fort Stockton on the way home). Got a pretty good picture of the last of the bluebonnets for this season.
Then it was on to San Antonio by way of Amistad National Recreation Area, which had a few good birds, but the heat, winds, and smoke from all the wildfires convince me to head on to the Hill Country to check out Garner and Lost Maples State Parks. Quite a variety of butterflies in Amistad, including this one.
Although spring was well underway by the time I got there, wildflowers were pretty impressive throughout the Hill Country, including this incredible field of poppies,
and these gorgeous pink ones.
Later, on a day trip from San Antonio to visit Wildseed Farms and do a little birding on the way, I finally got a pretty good shot of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.
And on another day trip, as it was getting late in the day, a huge flock of Cedar Waxwings surrounded us, hundreds more than one ever sees in New Mexico.
After visiting with my friends overnight in Fort Stockton, I headed for home early in the morning, stopping for a couple hours at Rattlesnake Springs, a fabulously birdy area just south of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where I ran into the guy who first introduced me to this place. Summer and Vermilion Tanagers, Goldfinches, a rumored Gray Hawk, and several warblers were highlights of that morning, including this Audubon’s Warbler.
All in all, a great trip and better than I had hoped.