Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Guadalupe Mountains

The Western Escarpment of Guadalupe National Park
Got a little bit of a late start this morning heading for Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The sunrise blinded me right at the Hudspeth County line as we headed due east. We really wanted to be about 30 more miles down the road.

Our first target bird of the day was Sagebrush Sparrow. We had a report from a good observer that he had found some along the road between FM1111 and the Culberson County line on US180. That is about a 25 mile stretch. We looked at several picnic areas and several other good looking spots along the road but never found anything but Brewer's, Savannah, and White-crowned Sparrows. We did spy a pair of Golden Eagle for year bird 218.
Blinded by the light on US180 Looking for Sagebrush Sparrow
On to Frijole Ranch at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This was my first visit to this spot. It was swarming with bluebirds, a couple of Easterns, but loads of Western Bluebirds and lots of Mountain Bluebirds. Mountain Bluebird was year bird 218.

We decided last night to see if we could reach some higher elevations. We took the Frijoles Trail and along it in a small grove of trees we found Townsend's Solitaire for year bird 219. We continued up the mountains along the Bear Canyon Trail. Not very fair up the trail we heard and then saw a pair of Cassin's Finches for Year bird 220.

The view from our high point, 7100 feet on the Bear Canyon Trail
We made it up to about 7100 feet before we ran out of time but the canyon held nothing but a bunch of Canyon Wrens. To tell the truth it looked like we had just made it to the better habitat. Unfortunately we had to head down the mountain,

Along the trail down John's boot started to fall apart. Actually the sole pealed off. Yes the trail up Bear Canyon is a Sole Destroyer!

Just as we got back to the parking lot we spotted a Sage Thrasher for year bird 221.

We decided to just see how far we could make it up McKittrick Canyon before the gate closed. We hustled down the trail as fast as we could and ran into our friends John Berner and Ken Hartman who had started the day with us at Frijole Ranch. Right was we approached them Ken says "Do you need Mountain Chickadee?" and pointed to one flying over. Fortunately it landed and Mountain Chickadee became year bird 222.

Tomorrow, we chase the Common Crane!

1 comment:

  1. You're making me want to get out there! Good luck with the crane.