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

37 thoughts on “Yearning for the Big Bend

  1. Birds aside, I absolutely love your capture of the Rio Grande, it is breathtaking, Bob. Simply stunning. I can fully understand and appreciate yours and Ann’s love for that area. Wish I could go, but I will settle for some great shares when you return! 🙂

    • Thanks, Northern, 🙂
      I did use HDR on the two landscapes. It was my first attempt at it, and I didn’t want to over-do it, but I kinda like it. What do you think? Thanks for your kind words.

  2. WOW, you have lots of plans coming up! Can’t wait to see the photos! LOVE the roadrunner, we don’t have them here!

  3. Fine images, every one of them Bob. I’m especially fond of the red-tail. But this post is one of those where I enjoyed the reading at least as much as the photo-gawking because I identify so much with your devotion to Big Bend. Not because I’ve ever been there (I haven’t) but because it reminds me so much of how I feel about my favorite area of the world – sw Montana. I anticipate those trips like you do yours. Good on ya! And have a spectacular trip in September.

    • I can just imagine that your area of Montana is similar to my favorite Big Bend area. Those are places that you just feel awesome to be there. Thanks for a great comment, Ron.

  4. Great photos Bob, We have never been to Texas, but your photos and descriptives certainly makes us feel like we have been there. I’m sure you will have some great stories and photos !!! It’s only a few months and you know how time flies!

  5. I’m inclined to join you every time I read about someplace that you’ve visited – you always find such wonderful photo ops!! I know you’ll have a great time, and you’ll come back with hundreds of amazing images!! 😉

    • Hey, that would be great if you could join us. I only wish it was sooner, but of course, right now it is pretty hot down there and the birding would not be great. So I will just day-dream about it for a couple of months. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words, Holly. 🙂

  6. We are very much enjoying the paper version! Blog photos are nice, but there’s something to sitting with a picture book and cup of coffee, yearning to be back in the west Texas desert. Thank you for what you do to promote our beautiful Big Bend. I look forward to the publishing of your second book. 🙂

    • Shannon,
      You’ll never know how much those kind words mean to me. I was hoping that it would effect people, like it has you. I sincerely appreciate all of your support. Now I have to get to work, if I am going to have a second book:-). But before that I will have a beautiful 2013 Calendar to get out.

  7. I remember when you took that bobcat photo! It was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I hadn’t seen it before, maybe I missed it when you posted it last. Thanks for sharing. I too get the wanderlust for Big Bend every once in a while.

    • Hi Mike. Yes, I do remember that you were with me. What a great time. This photo is one that I was able to crop close for a “portrait”. Hope we get together again soon. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

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