Big Bend’s Birds of Spring

March 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm (Big Bend National Park TX, Birds - Big Bend TX, Birds - Texas) (, , , , , , , , , )

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Red-tailed Hawk on blooming Acacia

In addition to the Common Black Hawks of my last post, there are many other birds returning to Big Bend from their winter getaways, as well as year-round residents exhibiting annoying testosterone-fueled behavior.  

Turkey Vulture eating dead lizard

Turkey Vultures have peppered the sky for a few weeks now, having spent the colder months in Mexico, Central and South America.  These birds have extremely acute olfactory organs for finding rotted meat, and have some nasty (to us) habits such as urinating on their legs to keep cool, and vomiting when alarmed.  They also have trouble getting out of the way of speeding cars, and can easily take out a windshield.  Should a vulture’s guts be ripped open in the process, you might just decide to give the car to a junkyard.  I understand the smell is Putrid Times Ten.  Well, as Jan Allen, one of our volunteer interpreters calls them, they are the Road Kill Cleanup Crew.  They serve an important purpose in the ecosystem, and despite their reputations, are a welcome sight to nature lovers.

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Black Hawks Make Whoopee

March 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm (Big Bend National Park TX, Birds - Big Bend TX) (, )

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The Common Black Hawks have returned to Rio Grande Village from more southern climes, and were busy today adding to their nest and making whoopee. Read the rest of this entry »

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Winter’s Last Moon

March 20, 2011 at 11:12 am (Big Bend National Park TX) (, , , , )

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Composite of the “Super Moon” rising March 19, 2011

It’s the first day of Spring. 

It was 102 degrees in Castolon yesterday, in the park’s southwest end, ushering out the last day of winter at Big Bend National Park.  The moonrise was much-heralded as the largest perigee moon in 18 years, because it was closer to the earth. (The moon orbits the earth in an ellipse, the farthest point being the apogee.) I watched it rise from behind the Deadhorse Mountains, along with other folks who had come to hear moon lore from one of our rangers.    Read the rest of this entry »

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LAGNIAPPE – a littla this, a littla that

March 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm (Big Bend National Park TX) (, , , , )

Sunrise on Winter’s Last Day, with Persimmon Mt. to the right
*Big Bend had a little retirement party a couple of weeks ago for a veteran employee.  His uniform was a little scruffy and he needed a shave, but he was adored just the same.  Jeep, one of the park trail horses, was headed for a well-deserved rest, and the send-off was superb.  The park superintendent even presented his retirement plaque, which was signed on the back with good wishes.   The school children turned out for the ceremony, speeches were made, a song was sung (by me) and carrots and brownies were served with iced tea.  Read the rest of this entry »

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