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West Texas Adventure

Part 5:  Big Bend to Del Rio

I was up at five and ready to go by six (no Elf Owl this morning), dropped off the key, and decided to road bird Green Gulch until it was light enough to start the hike.  No Poorwills, but just the normal dawn chorus of chaparral and scrub oak stuff tuning up!

I realized I had forgotten to “take care of things” before leaving, and my body suddenly wanted the restroom, so we buzzed back to the campground, and I almost forgot about my “situation” when I saw the moth collection in the sink room!!  The ladies’ room was almost as good, but nature called…  (There was also another lady in there who was sniffling—hope it was allergies and not something she was upset about, but I didn’t get a chance to ask…)  Switched to the small lens and shot several very exquisite and interesting specimens—I’ll be perusing the Moth Photographers Group for awhile, I can tell!

The campground restroom was just full of moths!


Mystery carpet moth (with a white deltoid at right)


Exquisite little buff and brown moth

Various unidentified bird-dropping moths


More mystery moths (the guy on the right was really tiny!)

I think I was actually able to identify some thanks to the Moth Photographer’s Group...


Left:  Black-spotted Lemon Moth (Azenia edentate)    Center and right:  Corn Earworm Moth—note the difference in how he holds his wings (above he has his wings folded around his body) 


Left:  Female Bulia Moth?    Right:  Mad Fox Moth

Anyway, after taking care of that I headed down the trail, and it was indeed down; I knew right then and there I wasn’t gonna be making a morning of it!  So when I reached the intersection I decided to head up towards the lodge, then take the road back.  The sewer ponds that were supposed to have Black-capped Vireos were being worked on by some crews, so no hope hearing anything there!  But heading back up I had a very nice Varied Bunting singing in plain view, then later heard the distinct quark of the Scaled Quail!  The covey call came very close, and turning the corner I just glimpsed several little babies scampering up the trail and into the brush!  I was still hearing the adults calling very close, and then I noticed one of them calling from a dead tree!  He eventually allowed very close approach, but unfortunately he was right in the sun…


Scenes along the Window Trail in the early morning

Another view of The Window

Heading up the hill


Left:  Fuzzy Varied Bunting        Right:  Scaled Quail in the sun   

Made it to the top and ran into the same ranger who had given me my maps at Panther Junction!  He was apparently giving a guided bird walk to the lady with him (they were looking at a Ladderback), and I admitted that I had dipped on the Lucifer.  However he said that they were indeed at the bottom of the Window Trail:  Barry Zimmer was leading a group and they had two males yesterday!  Oh, well; I knew that hike back up was gonna kill me, so it was probably the wise thing to do.  Decided to give the agave along the Window View Trail one last shot, but only saw the young Scott’s Oriole.  Headed down the road hoping the Gray Vireo would still be singing, and sure enough, he was!  He was very cooperative, coming right up on a dead tree to investigate! 

Coming back up to the easy trail...

Looking back

Window View Trail with one of the few agaves still blooming


Left:  Another bird-dropping moth    Right:  Young Scott's Oriole   


Gray Vireo   

There were a couple more agaves in the campground that I checked out, but only Blackchinneds were coming in to them (this one female was aggressively defending it, too).  But at one point I heard something that matched the description of the Lucifer Hummingbird vocalization, and when I looked in that direction, there was indeed a hummer flitting around that bush, but I just couldn’t get on it!  That was definitely the one that got away…


Birds back at the campground...


Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

Turkey Vulture

    Brown-headed Cowbird singing

After checking out the moths one last time, decided that it was too late to go to Rio Grande Village, so decided to road bird the road to Marathon, stopping every two miles, and that was productive; actually got a trip bird out of it (a Loggerhead Shrike)!  But the main culprits were nice day birds:  cooperative Verdins, Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, and Black-throated Sparrows were added to the list.

More moths at the bathroom….


Left:  Emerald sp.    Center and right:  Deltoid sp.

Scenes along Highway 385

    Verdin calls and song


Black-tailed Gnatcatchers


Black-throated Sparrows

Wash that (according to the interpretive sign) sometimes gets inundated with flash floods

At noon headed for Del Rio for the night, and discovered that we should have plenty of time to stop at Casa Grande Lake tomorrow!

Click here to continue to Del Rio to McAllen, or here to return to the Colima Death March

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