Texas in April

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?

Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant

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.

Gray Hawk

Gray Hawk

Keeping an eye on things was this rather sedate Turkey Vulture.

Turkey Vulture

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.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

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.

Mating Damselflies

Mating Damselflies

This one was particularly cool, flashing that red light every now and then.

Damselfly

Damselfly

Both the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and Verdin paused long enough for me to get good pictures of them.

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

On the Verdin, you can even see that little rusty shoulder patch.

Verdin

Verdin

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.

Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets

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.

Butterfly

Butterfly

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,

Poppy Field

Poppy Field

and these gorgeous pink ones.

Pink Poppies

Pink Poppies

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.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

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.

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

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.

Audubon's Warbler

Audubon's Warbler

All in all, a great trip and better than I had hoped.

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About joeschelling

Birding, butterflies, nature photography, and travel blog from right here in Albuquerque New Mexico.
This entry was posted in Birding, Butterfly, Dragonflies, Flowers, Photographs, Texas, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Texas in April

  1. Rebecca Gracey says:

    It sounds like a wonderful trip with great bird sightings. (The butterfly looks like a Pipevine Swallowtail.) The damselfly photo might be another award-winning one.

  2. jlorman says:

    Like the roadrunner and Turkey Vulture photos, Joe!

    John Orman

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