Big Bend Chisos Mountains again
Texas week 5 2-1 thru 2-7
After stopping for a Cappucino for me (I love vacations!), then Walmart for propane, groceries and gas, we checked into Seminole Canyon State Park for Sunday and Monday night. There are pictographs here that are very famous. One is of a 9-foot cave drawing of a panther, but is accessible only by boat. We drove to the Pecos river on Monday and it was beautiful. This place has a lot of birds (nothing new yet) - Canyon Towhee, Pyrrhuloxia, White-crowned Sparrows (wintering), Cactus Wren, Northern Mockingbirds, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers (male and first time seeing/photographing a female!), Curve-billed Thrasher, Black-throated and House Sparrows, House Finches, Verdin, Lark Buntings, and I need a better picture of the Scaled Quail we saw last time, thanks to David putting out a water dish, suet cake and sunflower seeds (didn't see any though)! David saw Chukar Partridge, but I didn't :(. We looked in the area later, but none were around.
Something very strange happened on Superbowl Sunday...David was cooking steaks and chicken on the grill and another MI couple came over and after they learned we live in Erie, MI, Judy says, “my brother lived in Erie on Strasburg Road, Harley!”. David was floored – this was Harley's sister Judy and her husband Jerry from Petersburg, MI. We couldn't believe it! You meet so many people down here! A guy from Israel is in a tent and was only visiting, but loved it so much, he's staying and works for the park.
We made breakfast on Tuesday, 2/3, then packed up to head to Big Bend (about 4 hours away). It's only $7 per night and we paid for the first week – all in the Chisos Mountains. First bird I saw was a Rock Wren! AWESOME!!
We love the Chisos Basin @ Big Bend National Park! I walked the Windows trail twice (but not all the way) on Tuesday. We made plans for and had a date night dinner at the Lodge restaurant on Friday (glass of wine for me and a top shelf Margaritta for him). We are living off the grid again - no TV, electric, water or wifi (off and on) in Big Bend (kinda nice!). It is in the 70's this week and I am waiting for the butterflies to start coming out. We camped across from the space we had last year, under Casa Grande (that David climbed last year – not this year he said). LOL
We did the east side of Big Bend on Thursday (Rio Grande Village/Nature Trail, Glenn Springs Road) and had a picnic under the Cottonwood trees. The resident Vermillion Flycatcher was the best bird there! Birds seen so far are Rock and Cactus Wren, Say's Phoebe, Acorn Woodpecker, lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Canyon Towhees, White-winged Doves, Mexican Jays (Thursday), Black-throated – Chipping – White-crowned and Vesper Sparrows, Hermit Thrush, HUGE Common Ravens, and Audubon's Warblers (every time at Cottonwood). Mammals include Gray Fox and White-tailed Deer (within 6 feet of me at the Chisos Mountains). A Greater Roadrunner entertained us one afternoon at our camp.
On Saturday, we drove the West side of Big Bend (Ross Maxwell Scenic drive to Santa Elena Canyon). I was quite disappointed that the Rio Grande River water levels were so low, there were no butterflies puddling like last year. We went to 2 river sites and it was the same. We picnicked by the Rio Grande, which was nice. There was also a nice Vermillion Flycatcher at Cottonwood Campground, which was under water in a few places?? I have an unidentified bird to work on :) We looked on the South Rim for the White-throated Swifts, but didn't see them. David found 2 crosses out in the desert and walked and took pictures. One was undated/un-named. David's friend Bob got to do his parachute jump on Saturday and David was very excited for him. I wish they could have jumped together :(
One night we stayed up past 9pm :) and watched the stars. Big Bend is certified by the International Dark Sky Assn as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park. Before the Moon comes over the mountains, it is VERY dark and we saw the Milky Way. I do not have a tripod with me, which is what is needed for a good picture. I will try before we leave to get a hand-held picture and plan better for this next time. Big Bend National Park is the nation's largest and LEAST visited, which I don't understand!
I had a hiccup with my Mom's VA deposit this week, but thanks to my Sister Cathy and my friend Rita, I hope that can get the problem corrected quickly. Mom is home but not sounding so good. She misses me. I keep reminding her that flower season and thrift store-ing will happen when I get home.
We are discussing where to next? We might stay at Big Bend til Wednesday since it's supposed to be in the 70's and cold farther North in New Mexico. I have to have my Cumadin blood drawn in Alpine when we leave here, then it's off to NEW MEXICO! Stay warm, my friends!
week 5: David drove ___ miles this week (5 days in Big Bend)! No new birds or butterflies, but it is still exciting for me to see God's creation in rocks, mountains and stars!