Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Texas - Big Bend National Park - Wednesday 1 June 2011

Having spent the night in San Antonio we rose early and headed straight for Big Bend National Park. We made it to the last town outside the park, Marathon, in time for an early lunch (there's a deli where we had a simple sandwich made), filled-up and then drove into the park. At the park entrance a pair of Chihuahua Ravens kept a lookout:



We drank in the scenery of the park as we drove to the park headquarters, some thirty miles from the entrance, stopping to add Black-throated Sparrow:






It really is an impressive landscape:



Semi-desert but wide-open spaces, mountains:



At the headquarters we got two new species in a single bush, Pyrrhuloxia and Long-billed Thrasher:







Here's the Long-billed Thrasher closer:




and the Pyrrhuloxia:


We added a third species in the Cactus Wren:








This wren is much bigger than the wren we have:



We drove on from the centre towards our accommodation in the park, keeping an eye out for bears and birds, oh and agave plants. Flowering agaves are a magnet for birds, we were advised to check each one.






We found more birds as advised, including Willow Flycatcher:



Wilson's Warbler:













Yellow-rumped Warbler:




and Canyon Towhee:




As well as Ruby-throated Hummingbird:



We didn't see as many hummingbird species as we'd hoped, I think we were a bit late for the peak viewing time. The park was quite quiet even by its own remote standards, as the season progresses towards summer and the heat rises, it gets fewer and fewer visitors, although it never closes.

We took time to take in more of the views too:







We had an early dinner and were delighted to find the restaurant was both reasonably priced and offered two vegetarian options. We learned to ask that they be cooked separately in time for dinner the following night too.... the beer was great though. The sun sets between two sharp mountain slopes, creating a 'window' effect - hence the name of one of the trails - it also means the restaurant is basked in sunshine during the long evening.

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