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Texas Hill Country & Storm-Chasing

Part 19:  Red Rock Canyon SP & the Drive Home

I stopped at Red Rock Canyon SP (in Oklahoma) for an exercise walk and got more than I bargained for!  While not quite as impressive as Palo Duro Canyon, this was very similar in that you're surrounded by flat farmland and go down into a lush riparian corridor surrounded by red cliffs, although they weren't too terribly tall (maybe 40 feet; I'm terrible at judging height...).  I drove to the very end and walked back along the main road for 20 minutes; the star of the show was a pair of Louisiana Waterthrushes who were very upset at my presence!  Turns out there were several there, along with many Mississippi Kites, bold Indigo Buntings who weren't afraid of the kites at all (but the woodpeckers were—they’d vamoose when the kite landed in their "space"), and interestingly another new trip bird: a singing Roadrunner!  His cousin the Yellow-billed Cuckoo also let loose, and the other common songsters reminded me of the Hill Country.  A singing Swainson's Thrush was a nice touch, and interestingly had both American Crow and Chihuahuan Raven in here (a really weird place for the latter, but he was croaking like a raven and certainly had the head/bill shape)!  The invertebrate highlight had to be what I thought may have been a black-winged butterfly flopping by but turned out to be a huge damselfly with inky black wings and a metallic green body!  Kenn's Bug Book came through for me on that one, and ID'd my treasure as an Ebony Jewelwing!

          

The area reminded me of a miniature Palo Duro Canyon!

Critters at the park...

                 

L-R:  Louisiana Waterthrush, Indigo Bunting, Ebony Jewelwings

       

Mississippi Kites (sunning at right)

 

Rappelling area

Got as far as Santa Rosa, NM, and ended up staying there an extra day as whatever attacked me (allergies or The Crud; who knows) just wiped me out! It was a good idea, though: not only was my energy back the next day (although the hack and stuffy head were still there), but we had some pretty good boomers go through on my "sick day", and I would have been driving right through them, probably!

Hit the road the next day and made it as far as Kingman, AZ (and was lazy and didn’t hike at the state park: it was cold and windy and overcast).  Actually got into San Diego earlier than anticipated, but only had the energy to unpack, call some friends, and read the rest of the afternoon (although that shower sure felt good).

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