Sunday, January 29, 2017

In the West Texas Town if El Paso

We started the day at Sunland Race Park just over the New Mexico border in El Paso hoping to locate the Mew Gull and the California Gull that had been reported there and catch them flying into Texas. There were lots of gulls there when we got there. We say a far number flying into Texas so we decided to go see if we could find a vantage point on the Texas side of the border and maybe get one on the wing.

Just as we crossed the line into Texas we noticed a large number of gulls heading into an enclosure behind a new looking Walmart. We pulled up inside the enclosure we could see about 500 gulls on a retention pond and more circulating in and out from the race track. Looking at Google Maps the northern 2/3 of the pond is in Texas too.

We did find one interesting bird, it seemed good for a Mew Gull too. Joe got some photos but we have not had internet access enough to compare them and see if we snagged this treasure.

We headed next to the bird blind at the Tom Mays Unit of the Franklin Mountains State Park. Just a Canyon Towhee when we got there, but soon a Black-throated Sparrow put in an appearance for Year Bird 291. We didn’t have to wait long before a Green-tailed Towhee appeared for Year Bird 292. Waiting a bit more and a pair of Gambel’s Quail strutted in for Year Bird 293.

We headed next over to McKelligon Park. Right away on the trail we hear a “seep” call I’m sure is a Black-chinned Sparrow. I get a brief glimpse of a brown backed, grey headed bird to confirm Black-chinned Sparrow as Year Bird 294.

We hit Ascarate Park hoping for something interesting. Lots of Buffleheads and Ruddy Duck. There are some Canada Geese here but I don’t know their status as wild birds and decide not to count them.

We head East to Tornillo Reservoir looking for a California Gull that’s being seen there. Luck is with us and we do locate it swimming in the middle of the lake by itself. California Gull is Year Bird 295.

We head further east to McNary Reservoir. While scanning we hear something like a rocket behind us. We look and in the field we see a large brown bird with a snow goose in its talons. Golden Eagle is Year Bird 296.

Our plan is camp to at Hueco Tanks State Park. We have a line on a Long-eared Owl. We get there, check in, go through Orientation, and get to our campsite. We search unit dark with no luck on the owl, maybe in the morning.


  1. That was an awesome opening month. You are on fire. Keep it up! After your past three blogs I have been turning green with envy!

  2. You are ahead of Lynn Barber's pace at this time in her record setting year. Breaking 300 in January is impressive!