Saturday, December 27, 2008

Big Bend Trip Day 6: Sam Nail & Marathon

Our final day in Big Bend started off cloudy and gray ...
but the sun soon made an appearance.

I hurried down to watch the light over the Window change as the day began.

Sunrise brought with it Western Bluebirds, a Northern Flicker and this Acorn Woodpecker.

Reluctant to leave the park, we decided to make a last visit to Sam Nail Ranch before returning for lunch at the Chisos Lodge and then setting off for our last night in Marathon.

Leaving Chisos Basin

Looking back to the Chisos

The pool at Sam Nail Ranch was as busy with Hermit Thrushes and other birds as before.

This time a Spotted Towhee emerged just long enough for me to grab a quick photo.

This Ladder-backed Woodpecker was more obliging.

Back at Chisos Lodge, we stopped to admire the vegetation (and a secretive Javelina) ...

... and had a good view of some Mexican Jays.

On our way out of the park, I was just complaining to Dee that we hadn't seen any hawks when what should appear overhead but a Red-tailed Hawk, soon followed by a Northern Harrier and then another Red-tailed. They must have been listening.

Red-tailed Hawk

A couple of miles from the park exit, I was complaining again. This time I was bemoaning the comparative absence of sparrows and the total absence of buntings. Naturally, a flock of several hundred sparrow-like birds appeared by the roadside.

A few of the birds were Vesper and White-crowned Sparrows but most were Lark Buntings, a new species for both of us. What a great note on which to end our visit to Big Bend!

Lark Bunting

Back at the Marathon Motel, the night was extremely cold but the sunset was as beautiful as ever.

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