Return from Big Bend – Part II


It is great to be back.  However, I am ready to go again.  I just don’t get enough of the Big Bend area of west Texas.  But here we are back in San Angelo again.  I noticed that while I was gone I had visitors to my blog from three more countries.  Up to 127 now.  I didn’t realize how many countries there are.  Also I have had 53,245 hits.  Rats, I was going to give a prize for the 52, 674th hit.  Missed that.  Okay, we’ll think about a prize for whoever gets hit number 55,183.  🙂

So anyway, after we stayed in a motel at Marathon, Texas on Sunday night, we headed south to Big Bend National Park on Monday morning.  The park entrance is about 30 miles south of Marathon, then it is another 50 miles or so the park headquarters.  BBNP is a huge park.  About 800,000 acres.  At the park headquarters at Panther Junction, we visited the ‘facility’, then checked the nature trail nearby to see if there was any wildlife.  It was quiet except for a Canyon Towhee scurrying through the cacti.

We then headed to the Rio Grande Village campground which is about 40 miles east of the headquarters.  Did I tell you that BBNP is a huge park?  We weren’t planning on camping there but it is a hot spot for birding.  There is also a great nature trail and a really neat wetlands area.  The nature trail takes you through native vegetation of various cacti and other desert plants, and eventually up atop a butte with a magnificent view of the Rio Grande River and the village of Boquillasa across in Mexico.

Mexican village of Boquillas with massive Boquillas Canyon in the background. Photographed from the nature trail in Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park on the American side of the river.

In Rio Grande Village campground, the “snowbirds” were beginning to leave.  That is what we call the people from the north who fill up the campground in the winter with their motor homes and RVs.  With them leaving there are more open spaces to roam around to look for birds and wildlife.  We saw several birds, including a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura) that was another ‘lifer’ for me. Number 243, thank you very much.  I had reported it originally as a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, but my good friend Linda White alertly caught my error, after she examined some of my other images of the bird.  We also saw a Great Blue Heron in the wetlands area of the nature trail.

The above Curve-billed Thrasher was photographed near the park headquarters near Panther Junction.  He was perched atop a dead Agave century plant singing his heart out.

This Brewer’s Blackbird was photographed at the motel in Marathon, Texas, early in the morning before we left.  The early morning sun accentuated the irredescence of his colors.  More tomorow.

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29 thoughts on “Return from Big Bend – Part II

  1. Bob you always have so much fun on your outings! My Bob and I need to get out more I think. I have heard you mention the term “lifer” before and my guess is that it means it is the first sighting. Am I correct in that assumption? ~ Lynda

  2. “Did I tell you that BBNP is a huge park?” – isn’t everything big in Texas? 😉
    Your Brewer’s Blackbird looks a lot like the grackles that have been terrorizing my bird feeders recently. I suspect they are related!

  3. Interesting account of what sounds like a fun trip Bob. That looks like some wide-open country. Loved the photos, esp the one of Boquillas. I’m assuming you have an RV of some kind, despite the motel stay at Marathon…

    • There is a lot of open country in the desert, but the center-piece of the BBNP is the Chisos Mountains. High peaks, canyons, numerous trail to some amazing sights. Numerous other mountain scattered around, too. Quite diverse. No, we don’t have an RV. After our stay at Marathon, we stayed in a little cabin in Study Butte, outstide the west park entrance. We could have opted to stay in the mountains, too. There is a beautiful lodge there.

  4. Great shots..love the Curved-bill Thrasher..he was really singing away, and the lighting on the Blackbird is awesome..These guys along with the ravens are a real challenge to paint, to capture the irredescence of the feathers. We still have snow on the ground, and Sunday Morning, looking out the window of Church, I saw two large birds in the snow, and immediately assumed they were Canadian Geese which we have a lot of and they are migrating in now, but two my astonishment as I looked closer, they were a pair of Blue Heron..and a jogger went by and they took to the air, and what a sight to behold. Naturally no camera..but I will leave those shots to you..I think we probably are going to have an early spring in Colorado..lots of signs with different birds appearing. Have a great day and looking forward to, tomorrow’s post!!

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