Monday, May 22, 2017

Seminole Canyon cont'

I had such a lovely afternoon  and night here; sat out way past sunset and just enjoyed the night sky.  I hope you enjoyed that cactus wren video, here is a still of him as he entertained me. 

I picked some wild flowers and caught up on the days events in my journal...

The desert landscape right off my campsite was such an inspiration...wish I had the gift of being able to write poetically...with all this inspiration one would think I could come up with more than just "it was so cool" but it was just so cool!!

There is such a diversity in the high desert plains...

These are called Mexican Hats! That name is perfect..

House finch had a nest in my picnic is the proud papa, after I realized there was a nest in the rafters I set up my table and stayed out of the cabana as mom and pop both got upset it was way less stress on them when I relinquished it. 

After breakfast I took a walk on the ADA birding Trail.  It's a very short trail down to a bird blind.  I felt it was a bit too open but if one happened to have a disability where using a wheel chair was necessary this open space would be welcomed.  

another favorite flower the White Prickly Poppy was growing here...

It's a much hardier poppy than the cultivated ones I'm used to seeing, but don't try and pick any of these unless you enjoy being stuck with sharp spines.

All sorts of birds came by none wanted any part of me, I was so obvious in the blind...but got one hooded oriole

yet another cactus wren, 

this could be the oriole nest, I'm not sure..

this yellow warbler checked me out...

as well as this painted bunting...

some plants were labeled on the trail down into the canyon I forgot this in the last post but wanted to share it..

I like the way they put their signs on rocks that were laying about...

I spied new to me Clay Colored Sparrow....

and Ash-Throated Flycatcher

I had to crop this to see if it was the Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher and I do believe it is, the Blue Gray we have at home in SC doesn't have the dark color on the head.  The black capped G.C. would not have this bold eye.  Another lifer!! 

I got some good looks at the black throated sparrow, and didn't get a look at all of the unknown vireo that kept taunting me.  However I left the blind feeling psyched!! Back in camp I jotted down my finds then packed up and stopped at the visitors center to get postcards to send back home....where I met a nice couple asking the counter girl about the big loud black birds they had been seeing everywhere.  I couldn't help to but in when she told them they were vultures.  Vultures are big, black, but far from noisy!  Nope, it's great tailed grackles ( is not but should be the TX state bird)..  So I had a nice chat with that same couple in the parking lot as they headed out with their sweeter than sweet bulldog. They told me they had retired and bought the class C rig they were driving spent the early spring in FL and were now on a nationwide tour of the big Western Parks...and they were starting with Big Bend.  Small world eh.... down the road only a few miles was the Judge Roy Bean Museum.  I stopped mainly because I had asked Wilma to find me a post office to mail my cards, and she found me one in Langtry, TX, the Judges old stomping ground.  The museum was across the street from the Post Office. 

Judge Roy Beans court and saloon, he was THE LAW WEST OF THE PECOS!! (now a museum and visitors center with a wonderful cactus garden, with water and birds)

and once inside there is the same couple again! Amazing...they were just leaving as I entered.  They didn't want to leave the dog in the RV cause it was getting hot so they didn't tour the garden.  I can not pass up a Garden!!

Judge Roy Bean is the first lawman to use alternative facts I do believe...he rarely opened up his one TX Law book, and dished out fines which he pocketed, he would chain prisoners to the trees outside till they sobered and payed their is the judge outside the Jersey Lilly his Saloon

and here it is today...

If you want to google  him up you may find his colorful life of interest including the name of the town of Langtry and his saloon. 

I enjoyed a walk around the Cactus Garden  along with all the wonderful desert plants I saw...

 Hooded Orioles, Cactus Wrens, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eurasian Collared Doves, Curve Billed Thrasher, Painted Bunting, and 
another lifer the Bronzed Cowbird!! With his awesome red eyes.  Both males and females were present.  

cactus wren settling down for a nap...

One thing I've noticed about traveling around Texas at least on the Non-interstate Highways is they have these awesome picnic spots set up roadside.  No facilities but love this retro looking shelters over the me they look 60's...I stopped at many but I think I got only a couple photos ... here is one...this one is located on Hwy 90 a very desolate highway I picked up at Del Rio when I turned towards the west off of Hwy 277.  

I needed a leg stretch so I stopped at this one to get some ice from the cooler and pour out a nice cool drink, and I saw this bird on the fence...

Lark Sparrow and another life bird...nearly fell over, for by this time I was becoming over whelmed by the numbers of new birds I was so thrilled to finally see!! These Lark Sparrows are so drab from the neck down but from the neck up they are stunning..

Highway 90  is one of the most desolate highways I've driven since the Loneliest Highway in America, in NV. and silly me, I did not GAS UP MY CAR in Del Rio....and in all my excitement in Langtry I didn't even look to see if they had a gas station all I saw was the cafe, the post office and Judge Beans old saloon, maybe there was more TOWN farther in but I didn't look...

I was too busy checking out the power lines in hopes of finding the Aplomado Falcon I decided I could find without a visit to Old St Isabella Rd....and this one had me turning around for a second look but nope it is a Kestrel either an immature or a female...still worthy of my attention as Hwy 90 continued to suck gas from the van.... big deal I had half a tank....and then I had to pull over for this shrike, it may be a northern which would be yet another lifer...but I determined it to be a Loggerhead Shrike instead but I had to make sure...right??  So I tried to think back to when I filled up....OMG way back in Laredo! NOW I had only quarter tank!!  SO then I started to wonder how far is it to the next town from where I am now?? How many miles had I come? 

So I grabbed my map and started to try to figure this out...okay I have NOT passed a town since I left Langtry...I am somewhere between Langtry and the town on the map called Dryden...Whew I can surely make it to Dryden.   So a bit of a cliff hanger, will I be stranded on Hwy 90 or will I make it to Back to Civilization??

hwy 90 the second loneliest highway in America

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. Again great bird shots, I'm very impressed with your camera Sondra. Its hard for us Brits to image the problems of driving in the vastness that you have and making sure that we have enough fuel, because with the number of fuel stations we have it takes some very careless driving to run out of fuel.
    Hope the flu has now finally gone. It seems that this year many people have been laid low by viruses / bugs.

    1. Thanks Dave and it has been literally years since I got knocked down by a virus like this...Today I am fever free but weak as a kitten just hanging inside the house we have a rainy spell going on so I can't get into any outside projects. So I'm taking advantage of all this time to write up posts, go through the rest of my photos and get them into my Flickr where I keep all my photos memories I'm trying to get through the posts pretty fast but I don't want to let it get too stale, so I'm firing these posts out pretty fast. I've added a "follow by email" button so.
      I know that the UK is so diverse and yet small (more history per square mile)...I know I will probably never get to travel there so seeing it through your blog and others I follow is a real gift to me.

  2. Well since we know in real time you're home at least we know you didn't get stranded out there in the middle of literally nowhere. Marvelous birds, wonderful history... just loved this whole post (we've traveled through some of that -- stayed in Del Rio a couple of times... enjoyed it. Sure didn't see the birds you did though.

    1. But I may have hitched a ride to get gas...I have done that before with my mother in tow...she was amazingly calm about it!! I will tally up when I make the last post... I thought it would be easy to put all my TX sightings on one ebird checklist but that did not work out, I wanted to know what day I saw them... so I ended up doing separate lists.

  3. I have never seen a Hooded Oriole nest but I have seen the Thrasher's and Cactus Wren and that is what they look like. They build these things in the most prickle places. I love the Painted Bunting and the Lark Sparrow does have a beautiful head. What a Lifer Birding trip.

    1. Thank Jo, I agree it could be the nest of the Cactus Wren one was perched right close by it! If one wants to start birding I would say go to TX first!


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