Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Texas trip - Big Bend NP

I've just returned back to the Texas coast after a couple of days birding in Big Bend NP. This massive expanse of mountains and desert is a truly spectacular landscape, and being the northern extremity of the Chisos mountain range it attracts some interesting species in a US context. Most notably Colima Warbler just about extends across the border from Mexico, and during the 10 mile hike that I did yesterday just four birds were seen. They apparently arrive from 10-15 April each year, so I timed it pretty much bang on. For at first glance a grey bird, they're subtly fairly beautiful: -
Colima Warbler Big Bend 14th April 2014
The hike up to the summit took in a few habitats so predictably a load of good species were seen including a couple of Painted Redstarts (at Boot Springs), Townsend's Solitaire, Blue-throated and Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Black-chinned Sparrow and both Rock and Canyon Wrens to name just a few. It was a bizarre mix compared to the rest of the trip - with a distinctly 'western' feel to the birds which included Townsend's, Audubon's and Wilson's being the three commonest warblers.
Painted Redstart Big Bend 14th April 2014

Townsend's Solitaire Big Bend 14th April 2014
After a bit of searching at Cottonwood campground in windy conditions, a couple of Lucy's Warblers duly obliged before we headed coastwards overnight on an 11 hour drive. Anyway, here is an image of the previous day's Common Black-Hawk from Big Bend: -
Common Black-Hawk Big Bend 13th April 2014

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