|A Gray Hawk soars over San Felipe Creek in Del Rio|
I arrived on site and Shepdawg was already there along with several others. Lots of activity though. There were several Kiskadees chasing around. A large group of Chihuahuan Ravens chased over head. Good numbers of Ring-billed Gulls streamed over head. A Gray Hawk screamed and soared over. No Rufous-backed Robin yet.
Two city officials came by, Shepdawg thought that one identified himself as the City Manager, I heard the other say he was from the Parks and Recreation Department. Shepdawg and myself took the opportunity to enthusiastically endorse the birding ecotourism potential of Del Rio. The city is developing a parks system along San Felipe Creek. With Gray Hawk and White-collared Seedeaters resident it is worth a stop for many birders. Its not too hard to imagine another mega-rarity like Mottled Owl, Spot-breasted Wren, or Blue-gray Tanager showing up in Del Rio (hey I dream big when I dream of rarities!). More observers would help make that happen and Del Rio is in such an interesting place geographically. There must be a few Rufous-capped Warblers there somewhere. And its one the way to Big Bend.
About 11 am I decided to call this an official dip and headed west. My original plan was to head straight for White's City NM and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It sounded like the roads where not in good shape from the glizzard that roared through though (Winter Storm Goliath I think the weather channel called it), I had in-laws stuck on I10 near Van Horn for 12 hours my wife texted me. I decided to tag alone with Shepdawg and look for Baird's Sparrow near Marfa.
|Anna's Hummingbird, Judge Roy Bean|
|Wolf Camp Hills near Marathon|
Our goal is to bird FM2810 out of Marfa and we pull onto the road about 3 pm and start working it for Baird's Sparrow. I've never been on this road and in its present state its stunning. We find plenty off sparrows just not our target. One gets me excited but Shepdawg convinces me its a Grasshopper Sparrow. We go until almost sunset. The snow is disappearing fast and I decide to make the drive to White's City, NM and bird the Guadalupe Mountains in the morning.
|FM2810 West of Marfa|
Surprisingly there is no snow I can see until I get with in a half mile of the motel. I pull into the parking lot and its piled up more than a foot deep. The poor guy behind the desk is one of only two staffers there and looks tired but is very helpful. He even helps break the ice seal on my room door when it won't open. Unlike last night this room is nice and warm and I get some rest for tomorrow, dreaming of Juniper Titmouse and Sagebrush Sparrow.