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.
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.
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.