Birding the Big Bend


Since this blog is about birding, among other things, I thought it would be nice to show you the list of what we spotted during our visit to the Big Bend area last week.  Actually, Sid and Suzanne Johnson, reminded me that they would like to see such a list.  We birded in several areas of Big Bend National Park, plus a few spots outside of the park.  A few more we saw in nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park.  So without further adieu, here is, in no particular order are the 38 species.

  • 3  Turkey Vultures
  • 21  Common Ravens
  • 5  Mockingbirds
  • 2  Red-tailed Hawks
  • 7  House Sparrows
  • 1  Common Black-hawk
  • 9  Greater Roadrunners
  • 1  Merlin
  • 3  Hermit Thrush
  • 8  Black-throated Sparrows
  • 7  Black-chinned Sparrows
  • 9  Savannah Sparrows
  • 6  Loggerhead Shrikes
  • 2  Green Heron
  • 2  Golden-fronted Woodpeckers
  • 7  Western Meadowlarks
  • 11 Vermilion Flycatchers
  • 20 White-winged Doves
  • 1  Northern Flicker
  • 6  Olive-sided Flycatchers
  • 5  Cactus Wrens
  • 1  Curve-billed Thrasher
  • 20 Common Grackles
  • 2  Eurasion Collared Doves
  • 2  Pyrrhuloxia
  • 8  White-crowned Sparrows
  • 3  Hermit Thrush
  • 2  Northern Cardinals
  • 3  Gambel’s Quail
  • 1  Great Blue Heron
  • 5  Orange-crowned Warblers
  • 4  Eastern Wood Pewees
  • 1  Eastern Phoebe
  • 1  Orchard Oriole
  • 3  Song Sparrows
  • 2  Loggerhead Shrikes
  • 5  Red-winged Blackbirds
  • 1 Red-naped Sapsucker (see photo below.)

Since we are still novices, in my opinion, I think that there were probably many more, that we could hear but couldn’t readily identify, as there were also many that we could see, but weren’t quick enough to make definite IDs.  For example, I feel certain that I may have seen a Green-tailed Towhee, but couldn’t confirm it, although they are reportedly quite numerous in that area.

Red-naped Sapsucker

 This sapsucker was photographed at the ruins of the Sam Nail ranch.  Near the ruins is a still-working windmill that pumps a trickle of water into a copse of trees.  It is a little haven for many species of birds, plus an occasional Javelina.  It is about 500 yards off of the Ross Maxwell Highway that skirts the western side of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend NP.  Ann and I had to hike in, carrying my tripod and cameras, plus our binoculars, etc.  Click on the image to see an enlargement.

Photo Data:  Canon EOS 7D, Canon 100-400mm zoom lens, 1/400 sec. @ f7.1 plus 1/3 EV adjustment,  ISO 3200.  Spot metering with aperture priority.

It was very shady in the area, which accounts for the increase of 1/3 EV adjustment.  Also notice the ISO 3200.  There was very little noise in the original photo, which I took care of with Topaz DeNoise software.  The bird was about 20 feet above me, so I had to hand-hold the camera.