Saturday, December 27, 2008

Big Bend Trip Day 7: The Post to Houston

We got up early and packed the car, before spending a little time watching birds around the adobe courtyard.

An Eastern Meadowlark looked splendid in the sunlight.

The Cactus Wren that we had watched nestbuilding some days earlier was still hard at work, but now its nest was almost completed.


As we had time for a final couple of hours of birding, we headed back to The Post.
The road leading to the park was busy with wildlife, including several Mule Deer.

A Greater Roadrunner paused long enough for us to admire the colors behind its eye.

We were happily surprised to run into a flock of 30 Wild Turkeys.

The fields on both sides of the road were hopping with small birds but the only ones we saw clearly enough to identify were Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and Vesper and Black-throated Sparrows.
Vesper Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

The Post itself was also busy with birds. New species for the trip were Green-tailed Towhee, Brown Thrasher, Canyon Wren and Brown Thrasher. The other birds included American Coots, Swamp Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Cactus Wren, Spotted and Canyon Towhees, Say's and Black Phoebes, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Pyrrhuloxia, Loggerhead Shrike and Eastern Meadowlarks.

Our final Black Phoebe

.After watching a pair of Red-tailed Hawks scouring the hillside, it was time to hit the road for Midland-Odessa and our flight back to Houston.

Although we had not been able to bird the Rio Grande Village and had missed a few birds we were hoping to see (such as Scaled Quail), we were both absolutely thrilled with Big Bend and are already talking about when we might manage another trip there.

I saw 62 bird species, a respectable total for a winter visit. Thirty species were new for the year and 5 of these were "lifers": Red-naped Sapucker, Clay-colored Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Lark Bunting and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. However, for me the birding highlights of the trip were two species I'd seen before, the Vermilion Flycatcher and the Greater Roadrunner. Birds just don't come any better than those!

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