Davis Mountains Vacation – Life Is Good


Disclaimer:  This post is best viewed on your computer where you can see all of the photographs, and click on them to see enlargements.

Life doesn’t get any better than this.  Ann and I had the most wonderful time in a long time, mostly because we were joined by our dearest friends from Tennessee.  We hadn’t seen them since 2008 but that seemed just like it was the day before yesterday.  It was wonderful getting caught up and reminiscing.  (gosh, I think I finally got that spelled right. )  We gave them a big Texas welcome and dragged them all over the place.

I had been invited to Fort Davis to be honored as a featured artist at the Art Gallery at the Drugstore.  Bill and Nancy Davis, who by the way, are also the innkeepers at the Davis Mountains Inn where we all stayed, also own the art gallery and the drugstore restaurant.  They, too, are wonderful people and we consider them among our best friends.  They had a reception for me on Saturday, where I sold some of my work, and signed my book, “Birds, Beasts, and Buttes”.  It was a huge success.

But it was small considering all that we did during the rest of the time, accompanied by our friends.  We took the 75-mile scenic wildlife loop tour;  Visited the McDonald’s Observatory; drove to Balmorhea State Park and Lake Balmorhea.  All in the name of birding, where we wanted to top off our 2014 list of birds.  We saw 54 different species during the trip.  One of those pushed us pass our goal of 200.  The Clark’s Grebe, mentioned later in this post gave us 201.  Oh, we also got a bunch of photographs.  I will show you them, in no particular order.  Remember to click on them to see great enlargements.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks and other raptors seem to be everywhere.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Northern Harrier on the hunt for prey.

Northern Harrier on the hunt for prey.

The Northern Harrier was the most difficult hawk to photograph.  They are fast, flying close to the ground, and not stopping to perch.

I can’t forget the four-legged wildlife in the area.

Pronghorned Antelope

Pronghorned Antelope

Aoudad on mountain side.

Aoudad on mountain side.

Great scenic wonders abound, too, however I was more into the wildlife mode so I didn’t get too many landscapes.

 

Rocky Mountainside

Rocky Mountainside

Really, really, big rocks

Really, really, big rock

Of course, there are many smaller birds in abundance.

Whtei-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

On a quick trip to Balmorhea State Park, we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk on the way.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

I told you the raptors were everywhere.  After arriving at the state park, we saw numerous American Coots and this one pretty Lesser Scaup.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

When I first spotted it I hoped that it would have been a Greater Scaup, but after a closer look at the wings, I could see the white bar on the trailing wing didn’t extend to the wing tip as it would have on the Greater.  As you can see on the next photos that it indeed a Lesser Scaup.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Alas, on Sunday morning our dear friends had to return to their home in Tennessee.  We will greatly miss them until the next time we meet, hopefully some time in 2015.

On Monday morning, Ann and I decided to visit Lake Balmorhea.  We had never been to before, but we had heard about the great birding there.  We were not disappointed as there were many wintering birds there.  We only wish our friends could have spent another day as they would have loved this.

Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

An American Pelican comes in for a landing.

An American Pelican comes in for a landing.

Clark's Grebe

Clark’s Grebe

A pair of Clark's Grebes swim through the reeds.

A pair of Clark’s Grebes swim through the reeds.

The Clark’s Grebe was number 201 on our 2014 Big Year Birding list.  It was also a ‘lifer’, being number 288 on our Life List.  It made for a fun, and very enjoyable five days in the Davis Mountains area.  After returning home, I received word from the San Angelo Country Club that two of my golf course photographs had been sold.  So now Ann and I can eat for another week. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the rather lengthy post.  Click on all of the photos to see some nice enlargements.  That’s all for this time.