Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Bend Trip 1

We got back from our trip yesterday afternoon - and it was quite a trip! One thing that made it memorable was the amount of driving - over 1500 miles in 6 days - most of it spent on the road between Houston and Big Bend. The weather was great the whole time, except for a damp, foggy start to our final day. The drought that persists in the hill country and west Texas meant that we saw fewer birds and many fewer mammals than on our visit to Big Bend exactly two years ago, but we still found plenty to keep us happy. And, if possible, the landscapes at Big Bend were even more stunningly beautiful than on our previous visit.

We had an easy first day's drive, traveling from Cypress to Del Rio with short stops at Castroville and Uvalde along the way.

I had great hopes for the regional park in Castroville but we saw very little there except for an armadillo and some common birds: Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Phoebe and Mourning Doves. The sewage plant area was abslutely empty of birds.

We didn't fare much better at Cook's Slough (another wastewater treatment site) in Uvalde, where we spotted Vermilion Flycatcher, Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren. However, the stop was made worthwhile by the sighting of a Greater Roadrunner in the parking lot.

After booking in to our motel in Del Rio, I made a trip to the local sewage plant. (Three sewage plants in one day is a record for me!) Unfortunately, the lake there had completely dried up and there were no birds where it had been. There were two armadillos, though.

The edge of the sewage plant did have a few birds, mainly Northern Cardinals and Yelow-rumped Warblers. Then I got lucky and spotted a Bewick's Wren, followed by a Brown Thrasher. 

A Black Phoebe and a Say's Phoebe - both birds we don't see around Houston - rounded off the day's sightings.

Then it was early to bed so we could could make an early start on our Day 2 drive of 350 miles to Big Bend.

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