Yearning for the Big Bend

As most of you know, the Big Bend country of west Texas is my favorite of all favorite places.  Ann and I generally make at least two trips per year to that area.  Usually once in the spring, then another during the fall months.  We try to time the journeys to coincide with the spring and fall bird migrations.

So here we are in mid-summer.  Our fall trip isn’t scheduled until late September we have another couple of months to wait.  We have plans to visit Marathon, Texas on September 23 and stay at the old Gage Hotel.  While there we will bird at the Gage Gardens and Post Park.  A lot of good birds visit each location, so hopefully I can get some new photographs along with maybe seeing some new lifers.

Great Roadrunner

On Monday September 24 the real fun starts.  We will be staying at the Far Flung Casitas until Friday morning.  Located in Terlingua/Study Butte area these beautiful little cabins are the best places to rest between “play times”.  They are centrally located for day trips in any direction.

Rio Grande with Santa Elena Canyon in background

Big Bend National Park is just a few miles east.  Going south and west along the El Camino Del Rio, (River Road), Hwy. 170, is probably one of the top ten scenic drives in the country.  To the north lies the city of Alpine, home of Sul Ross University.  Further west of Alpine is the city of Marfa, where you can see the eerie “Marfa Lights“.  There is a road that heads south from a point just west of Marfa that takes you on a spectacular down through Pinto Canyon and around the Chinati Mountains.

Sora photographed at Rio Grande Village, Big Bend National Park.

Getting back to our personal plans, we intend to do a lot of birding in Big Bend National Park.  Rio Grande Village RV Park is one our favorite places to see a lot of birds.  There is where you can try a great nature trail that winds through a wetland with a boardwalk, then up to some high points for some great scenic views.

Bobcat photographed at Rio Grande Village, Big Bend National Park

The Sam Neil Ranch ruins provides great birding opportunities.  The old windmill still works, pumping some water through this seemingly little oasis.  Watch out for marauding Javelinas.  Similarily, a few miles away is Dugout Wells, another shaded area where birds and an occasional Bobcat hang out.

Red-tailed Hawk – Big Bend National Park

We also have plans for a guided birding trip provided by Mark Flippo, a  bird expert of the Big Bend region, and hopefully a drive to Carolyn Ohl-Johnson’s Christmas Mountains Oasis.  Click her link  to read more about her personal birding area.

So now you can understand why we are in a restless mode right now.  After reading this post, you may be inclined to join us.  Click on any photo to see an enlargement.  Some of the images may be found in my new book, which I am shamelessly promoting every chance I get.  Click this link to preview and/or purchase a copy.  Or contact me at