Saturday, December 27, 2008

Big Bend Trip Day 1: Houston to Marathon

Wednesday morning we flew from IAH to Midland-Odessa Airport, where we rented a car and drove to Marathon via Fort Stockton. The roads were excellent, as they were throughout our trip, but there was little of interest to see during the 2.5-hour drive.

We had arranged to stay at the Marathon Motel for two nights, in order to do some birding at a local park called The Post and to unwind before moving on to Big Bend.

The motel was a pleasant surprise. The rooms were comfortable and were set around an attractive adobe courtyard planted with cacti and other native plants.

Our Room

The motel's grounds provided a relaxed introduction to the birds of the area, including Eastern Meadowlarks, House Finches, House Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Northern Cardinals, Eurasian Collared Doves and even a Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk

The courtyard was particularly attractive to birds and we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting there watching Brewer's Blackbirds, White-crowned Sparrows, Pyrrhuloxias and Cactus Wrens.

Brewer's Blackbirds

White-crowned Sparrow

Cactus Wren

Our first day ended with a dreadful meal at one of the town's two diners - and a glorious sunset.

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