Our Winter Texan vacation (2/3/2014 to 2/9/2014

February 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 We are now into week 4! I did see a NEW BIRD on 2/2 but wasn't going to count it because the picture was yucky (technical term :), but I decided to count it. I did see several of them and will get a better picture! It was a Scaled Quail. This week we stayed at the Amistad National Recreation Area (great place to fish we heard) for 2 nights, the Stillwell Store outside of Big Bend with full hookup (showers!) for 2 nights, then on to Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park.

We thought about staying at Seminole Canyon State Historical Park between Amistad and Big Bend, but after we visited, we decided to push on. That's where I saw the Scaled Quail, and also a Curve-billed Thrasher and Lark Buntings (both not new). We stopped at the Judge Roy Bean visitor Center in Langtry, TX (one of the nicest, handicap accessible places I've every seen) and FREE. Nothing for sale, just information and Judge Bean's courthouse/bar made famous in the movies “The Westerner” and “The life and times of Judge Roy Bean”. He was the law west of the Pecos! They have a very nicely-tended cactus garden that you can walk. We saw Black-chinned Sparrows there.

We stopped at Marathon, TX for lunch at Johnny B's and a birding site called Gale Gardens (tended by the Gale Hotel). That was very nice too – saw a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. We decided to stay at the Stillwell Store RV park just outside of Big Bend so we could take showers and clean our tanks and rest for a day. We toured the Hattie Stillwell Museum on the grounds, and learned she was a very respected Texas Historical figure, an author of the book “I'll Gather My Geese”, was a Justice of the Peace, and a widow for 50 years who owned lots of land. She died 12 years ago at the age of 97. We took a drive on FM2627 looking for mule deer the first night at Stillwell and Festus got to stay in the trailer.

Speaking of him, here is this week's blog from his point of view: Well, we are still driving from here to there every day and I'm still not liking it! My Sally cat is hiding at Mom's again I heard so Mom has to figure out what to do again. I go out, come in and get a treat (over and over and over). Mom and Dad got ice cream and gave me some (we only had it one other time on the trip)! I love ice cream :) Dad and Mom went to the Pecos River and Dad about had a heart attack when I jumped up on a rock. Dad grabbed me because I could have fallen into the river thingy. Sorry, Dad!

After figuring out that I didn't have enough Cumadin (blood thinner) to last 2 weeks in Big Bend on Wednesday, 2/5, we decided to stay another night at Stillwell store and went to Alpine, TX the next day to get a refill, groceries, propane, etc. On the way there, we saw a female Mule Deer and a 10-point Mule Deer and on the way back we saw a group of 9 Bighorn Sheep (will upload pictures). It's cold today and the water froze! Supposed to be in the 70's for the next 10 days (perfect for Big Bend).

We got into Big Bend on Friday, 2/7 @ $7 per night for 4 nights. First bird I saw was a Male Vermillion Flycatcher! AWESOME!! On 2/8, we drove the Dagger Flats Auto Tour (19 miles in and out), visited the Chisos Basin where we are camping next (NICE!) and the Dugout Wells with the only water we've seen other than the Rio Grande. Sally was taken home by my sweet daughter Michelle on 2/7. We met the tent lady, Janice from MN, and Si and Alice from Ohio and had coffee with them. On 2/9, I hiked 4 times and paid for it with sore muscles :) We rested 2/9. Saw our first butterflies this week!

Statistics week 4: David drove 1,110 miles this week! TWO new birds: #2 – Green-tailed Towhee @ Rio Grande Village and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher on the Nature Trail at RGV. Warblers seen so far: Pine, Audubon's (Myrtle w/yellow throat), Common Yellowthroat and Yellow-rumped.


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