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Texas Hill Country & Storm-Chasing

Part 3:  Balmorhea State Park

Because I would be crossing two time zones, I opted out of the free breakfast and picked up a McGriddle at the local McDonald’s (they left off the egg and cheese, though… L) and headed east. The bird list for the day was so meager it almost wasn't worth reporting on, but for continuity's sake, I sent it off to Birdchat…

  I originally wanted to stop at Franklin Mountains outside El Paso to get a head start on Texas County birding, but instead of checking the directions I went on the assumption that there’d be a sign (I could have sworn I had seen one on previous drive-throughs), but there was none, so I was sorely bummed. But the wind was so horrendous that I figured that was God’s way of saying, "Keep going!", so I just continued on, and it was horrendous all across the state (and still was as I wrote the report)!  Made the traditional stop at Balmorhea State Park, and despite the wind still managed to pick up a couple of trip birds (a Summer Tanager pick-a-chooing from the trees, and a lone female Lesser Scaup hiding out in the canal), and even more incredibly, picked up a couple of butterflies battling the wind: a really beat up female Black Swallowtail, and a couple of territorial Pipevine Swallowtails!  The flowers were lovely, so had the wind been calm I'm sure I would have kicked up more.

   

San Solomon Cienega

      

Female Lesser Scaup in the canal

                  

Beat-up female Black Swallowtail (left and center), and Pipevine Swallowtail hiding from the wind

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