Tiny Jewels with Wings

January 15, 2014 at 11:12 am (Big Bend National Park TX, Birds - Big Bend TX, Birds - Texas, fine art photography, Nature, Photography, Southwest Birds, Wildlife) (, , , , , , )

Calliope Hummingbird male detail

Calliope Hummingbird male detail

Most of these hummers were photographed in 2011 in Arizona, New Mexico, and Big Bend National Park in Texas.  I finally got around to making this collection.

Magnificent Hummingbird male

Magnificent Hummingbird male

Magnificent Hummingbird male

Magnificent Hummingbird male

I did have to do a lot of digital enhancements – my Nikon D80 doesn’t have the resolution that the D600 does, nor does it focus as quickly.  I prefer to darken the background and add a digital blur when necessary to minimize hotspots and noise. Read the rest of this entry »

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Black-and-White at Big Bend

February 17, 2012 at 4:04 am (Big Bend National Park, Big Bend National Park TX, Black-and-White Photography, National Parks, Photography, TX)

Moonrise over the Window, Chisos Mountains

I decided to do something different and go retro – back to black-and-white.  These are a few of my favorite BW images of Big Bend National Park in far west Texas.  I worked and lived in Big Bend for two winters, and it is truly a special place.    Of course, these are all digital images. Read the rest of this entry »

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No Rain, Green Anyway

April 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm (Big Bend National Park, Big Bend National Park TX, National Parks, Nature, Photography, TX) (, , , , )


Cottonwoods along wash near Sam Nail Ranch

Three weeks ago the only spring green to be seen at Big Bend was on the cottonwood trees, which had only lost the last of their tangerine leaves two months earlier.  (In Maine the trees are leafless for seven months!)  These cottonwoods were sprawled in snaky washes like green apple lollipops.  The effect on the landscape after so much brown and beige was startling.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Big Bend’s Birds of Spring

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


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) (, )


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) (, , , , )


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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Cowboy Poetry – Yee-Haa!

February 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm (Big Bend National Park TX) (, , , , , , , , , , )

“West Texas in Spring has its Sunday britches on…” – Sam Watson
That was a line from one of the poems recited at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas on Friday, February 25.  Cowboys, ranchers, and Western poets and musicians came together for the 25th year of the gathering, and Doug (my co-worker at the Entrance Station) was kind enough to swap days with me so I could attend.
I joked that I was going to rope me a cowboy and drag him home, but the truth is that as much as I love horses and the romance of the Westerns of my childhood, I stuck out like a sore thumb there.  (I stick out like a sore thumb no matter where I am.)  I mean, I was dressed in my usual artsy fartsy garb – a chartreuse t-shirt from the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, multi-colored baubles on neck and ears, and equally multi-colored belt and socks (those distinctive purposely-mismatched Sole-Mate socks so popular in New England.)  I did have on jeans, but they were black, and I wore New Balance running shoes instead of pointy, well-tooled boots.  Denim was the predominant color among attendees, along with lots of those lovely Stetsons. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lower Rio Grande Birds

February 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm (Big Bend National Park TX, Birds - Texas) (, , , , , , , , , , , )


I have added some new birds to my favorites list, thanks to a trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley recently.  The above Green Jay is one.  I have a fondness for jays, and this is particularly striking in its tropical coloration.  It’s a Mexican bird that ventures north of the border in South Texas – quite common there actually, but no less of a jewel. Read the rest of this entry »

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Brutally Cold!

February 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm (Big Bend National Park TX) (, , , )

The water has been running from my faucets for two nights and days, going on a third, to keep them from freezing.  We’re having the kind of frigid weather this area doesn’t see very often – eight degrees this morning at my house in Panther Junction, one degree in the Chisos Basin.  Heck I was hiking in short sleeves on Monday!  There was even a light dusting of powder snow, which mostly sublimated (evaporated) at PJ  by 6 p.m. The Chisos Mountains are still dusted, as you can see by the above photograph, but there was nary a flake at Rio Grande Village.  It was so windy there that facing the wind was extremely painful after only a few seconds.  The wind chill must have been minus 30 at least.  (Hey I’m from Maine, so I’m not a wimp!)  Despite that, here’s how it looked today in Big Bend. Read the rest of this entry »

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