Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chisos Mountains of Big Bend NP

Last night as we tried to sleep in our tent, the wind came up and blew very hard. Upwards of 25mph. It gave the tent a workout. Needless to say there wasn’t a chance for us to listen for night birds. It also made long stretches of sleep hard to come by with the tent being buffeted almost continuously. However, the system that brought the wind also brought very cool temperatures. Whereas it had been above 90F yesterday, we started off the day at 59F. And today was a big day which the low temperature helped. Today we climbed the trail to Laguna Meadows in our pursuit of the Colima Warbler, a bird found in the US only in these Chisos Mountains. The hike is about 3.5 miles and I chose the easier of the two routes to get to the warbler, but I’m glad we did. It worked out just right. Along the way we saw many of the birds we had seen yesterday plus a couple of new ones. A Blue-throated Hummingibrd appeared so John could catch up on that one. Then a tiny spot in the sky materialized as a Broad-tailed Hummingbird. We saw and heard several more of these upland breeders. They make a zinging sound as they fly which alerted us to their presence. In addition to the Rufous-crowned Sparrows which we had seen before, there were Black-chinned Sparrows which were new for us. And finally when we reached Laguna Meadows we were greeted by a singing male Colima Warlberr in all its finery (web photo). There were Wilson’s and Townsend’s and Audubon’s Warblers there as well. Since there was nothing new for us further up the mountain, we headed downhill which took a toll on our knees. Safely down we snacked a lunch and then headed out to do some exploring. We drove to Castolon on the Rio Grande River with a stop along the way at Sam Nail Ranch. There’s a windmill there that produces a drip which is inviting to desert birds. We watched as White-crowned and Chipping Sparrows, Lesser Goldfinches, and Audubon’s Warblers came to drink. At Castolon we walked the Cottonwood Campground where there were plenty of Vemilion Flycatchers and Cedar Waxwings and a couple of Summer Tanagers. But the bird we were after and found was Lucy’s Warbler. This section of Texas is the only area where it is found in the state. We drove to where we could see Santa Elena Canyon, a 1500 foot gorge cut by the Rio Grande River through rock (photo). Many rafters and river fanatics run it. Once you enter the canyon at the upper end you have to stick it out until the end. There’s no other way out. Drove back to the basin looking hard for Varied Bunting along the way, but not finding one. Dinner was at the lodge where a group was celebrating the conclusion of a Colima Warlbler census they had been conducting for the last several days. Greg Lasley was there so I said hello to him. With the five new birds the list total is now 547
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  1. We plan to get the Colima next year also! Guess we'll have to get all our hot tips from you! Renee

  2. Colima photo is gone. Probably blocked against linking. Had I thought of it, I would have encouraged you to photograph every place you had breakfast. Might have made a nice life list of its own.

    Glad you found the wifi thing.

  3. Colima shows up in "Safari".

    I like the idea of a breakfast list.

    I wish I'd had a camera back then --
    From my 1st note book 15th April '79; "For breakfast I had Rice Crispies, tea, orange juice, and egg bacon toast." saw some birds too.