Travelogue: Big Bend

Big Bend was something special, there’s no question about that. But it was also dangerous for me. They say the desert has a way of messing with some people’s heads, and subjectively speaking, I’d concur with that. I had terrible mood swings while I was there, brought on by little or nothing. Mostly from euphoria and optimism to sadness approaching depression.

It’s very strange. I wonder if it’s just weird chemical stuff going on in my brain brought on by the physical pain and heated to catalyzation by the desert, and exacerbated by not hearing much from anyone. ~ Excerpt from my Journal of Impossible Things

This isn’t specifically a birding trip for me, but I certainly added some interesting birds to my life-lists there, and took a few shots of birds I’ve seen before. There’s actually a lot of other stuff I want to say about Big Bend and my time there, but noting the above quote from my journal, I’m still really sorting it all out. My recovery from overworking my spine and my desert-damaged brain occurred nicely on Mount Lemmon in Arizona the next week, and it was helpful to take a few days off and just rest. In light of that, I’ll leave the rest of this post to the birds.

There were Black-throated Sparrows everywhere…



the occasional Blue Grosbeak. This might be the first male I’ve seen, though.



Cactus Wrens are quite loud and verbose



The Common Nighthawk has been on my Goddamnit List for several years now, so even a shitty shot from the hip like this gave me a good feeling. (UPDATE: It turns out this is not a Common Nighthawk, but rather a Lesser Nighthawk, which makes it completely new for the life-lists. I got some great shots of Common Nighthawks a few weeks later, however.)



Common Ravens are common



Golden-fronted Woodpeckers were not, however



Greater Roadrunners were smaller than I’d imagined, but not small per se. They’re quite clever though, and hard to get good shots of, even though I was tripping over them everywhere I went.



I managed to get this shot of a Lesser Goldfinch off down a steep grade on a windy day



The Vermilion Flycatchers were stunning in their vermilionitude



And the Acorn Woodpeckers were adorable



Mexican Jays were familiar but not, as I’d only ever seen a Blue Jay before



The Scaled Quails were ridiculously funny to watch and listen to. They made me laugh every. single. time.



I don’t actually know who “Scott” is, but Scott has a lovely Oriole named after them.



And I love that I finally got to see an actual White-winged Dove. I saw a lot of them, as it happens.



I’ve always wanted to see a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. I don’t know why, I just always have. I got to see two at one time.



The Red-tailed Hawks were familiar because we have them back home, and I have some pretty nice shots of them, but y’know. They’re cool.



And so was this Rufous-crowned Sparrow.



I did take time out and watch the clouds while I was there, though.



And I was definitely ready to leave when the time to leave came.