Part II – Birding in the Big Bend


I believe that I was telling you about our Wednesday adventures at the end of Part I of our Big Bend adventure.  Well, Wednesday evening after another fun day, we decided to go to Long Draw Pizza.  A hearty meal and cold beer was a great way to end the day.

Ann at the Sotol Vista overlook high in the Chisos Mountains.

Ann at the Sotol Vista overlook high in the Chisos Mountains.

On Thursday morning after breakfast at Big Bend Cafe in Study Butte, we headed to the old Sam Nail Ranch.  There are only a few ruins of some adobe walls there, and a windmill that the National Park Service has kept working to pump a bit of water. It provides moisture to this oasis-like setting among large cottonwood and mesquite trees, and other brush.  Many birds frequent this area.  Here I was able to photograph a Yellow-breasted Chat.  Click on it, and all other photos to see enlargements.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat

After spending a couple of hours there, we left and headed farther south down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to the Cottonwood Campground, another hot birding spot.  There we saw several Painted Buntings, Yellow-rumped Warblers. and several species of flycatchers.

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Western Wood-Pewee

Western Wood-Pewee

We also saw a Swainson’s Thrush, one more for my life list.

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush

Here is another shot of that Scaled Quail that I showed you in the previous post.  In this pose he is calling for his mate.

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

After a really fun four days we finally left for home, but not resisting one final shot of this Swainson’s Hawk, sitting on a fence post as we left the park.

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

For the week, we saw an astounding 66 species of birds.  For animal life, we saw 11 Pronghorn Antelope, 2 jackrabbits, 8 cottontail rabbits, 1 muledeer, 2 javelinas and a partridge in a pear tree.

Here is a complete list of our 66 species seen from the time we left home until we arrived back in San Angelo.

  1. Northern Bobwhite
  2. Whitewinged Dove
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Inca Dove
  5. House Sparrow
  6. Northern Mockingbird
  7. European Starling
  8. Great-tailed Grackle
  9. Turkey Vulture
  10. Barn Swallow
  11. Swainson’s Hawk
  12. Chichuahuan Raven
  13. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  14. Red-tailed Hawk
  15. Blue Grosbeak
  16. Scott’s Oriole
  17. Eurasian Collared Dove
  18. Lark Sparrow
  19. Brown-crested Flycatcher
  20. Western Meadowlark
  21. Scaled Quail
  22. Western Kingbird
  23. Chipping Sparrow
  24. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  25. Bronzed Cowbird
  26. Wilson’s Warbler
  27. Vermilion Flycatcher
  28. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  29. Spotted Sandpiper
  30. American Coot
  31. Red-winged Blackbird
  32. Cactus Wren
  33. Greater Roadrunner
  34. Pyrrhuloxia
  35. Canyon Towhee
  36. Summer Tanager
  37. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  38. Mexican Jay
  39. Curve-billed Thrasher
  40. Black-throated Sparrow
  41. Northern Cardinal
  42. Savannah Sparrow
  43. Black-crowned Night Heron
  44. Green Heron
  45. Western Wood-Pewee
  46. Lesser Goldfinch
  47. Pied-billed Grebe
  48. White-crowned Sparrow
  49. Eastern Phoebe
  50. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  51. Common Blackhawk
  52. Brown-headed Cowbird
  53. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  54. Painted Bunting
  55. Orange-crowned Warbler
  56. House Finch
  57. Yellow-breasted Chat
  58. Clay-colored Sparrow
  59. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  60. Mallard
  61. Common Nighthawk
  62. Brewer’s Blackbird
  63. Wild Turkey
  64. Common Raven
  65. Swainson’s Thrush
  66. Common Raven
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17 thoughts on “Part II – Birding in the Big Bend

  1. What a superb set of photos, Bob – you should be very proud of those. I particularly love the quail (again!), and the Yellow-breasted Chat. Lovely to see the scenery, and Ann, too!

    • I want you to know, Jo, that you are one of my favorite bloggers, and Colin’s art is stunning. I will give you a shout-out soon. I am so glad that you admire my photos so much. By the way, the scenery that you have had on your blog lately from Skye reminds me of the mountains and cliffs of west Texas. Except ours have desert around the base instead of thy ocean around yours. That quail is one of my personal favorites. 🙂

      • Bob, that’s so kind of you! You know that I love your blogs and photos too. 🙂 I’m glad you like the quail pics because I think they’re some of your best! The landscape of west Texas must be spectacular – I can only imagine the desert. I will think of that, when I’m squelching around on our boggy lawn tomorrow morning!

  2. Beautiful post, Bob! I would love to see all these birds. Even your Swainson’s Thrush looks different from ours. The Ash-Throated Flycatcher is just gorgeous. But then they all are.

  3. So nice! Glad you and Ann had such a good time! It is also good to see you did not leave your sense of humor in the Big Bend!! hugs

  4. Looks like you two had a fabulous trip..great picture of Ann..Love the Quail..Have a super day..we were blessed with Western Tanagers at the feeder plus a brilliant yellow headed blackbird. great way to start a Monday Morning..

    • Hi, Syl. Yes, we had a great trip, and can’t wait to do it again, which we probably will do later this year. I appreciate your comments. I am jealous of your Western Tanagers. We hardly see them here.

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