2020-03-04 Wednesday At Dripping Springs

Black-Throated Sparrow - Amphispiza bilineata
I found this bird on the desert floor below Dripping Springs on a day trip after a late winter storm. Near Las Cruces New Mexico.

My stay in Las Cruces was extended several days because of issues I had to sort out with my RV generator. All is well now as I send this post off from Alpine Texas. I’m poised to explore Big Bend tomorrow (Saturday), but I don’t plan to exploit the whole park on this tour. I’ve been told that I should try to visit in a month or so. I will try to time my trip out of Texas, following my expedition into the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the gulf coast, so I can visit this place again.

Wednesday midday I drove out to Dripping Springs while the generator drama was developing. There was a late winter rain Tuesday night in town that left a blanket of snow on the Organ Mountains, and I wanted to photograph the scenery.

On my drive I stopped short of the springs to capture a variety of perspectives. While I was shooting the snow-capped peaks I heard birds calling. There were mockingbirds, Black-Throated Sparrows, Cactus Wrens, Curve-Billed Thrashers, White-Winged Doves, Scrub-Jays, House Finches, Spotted Towhees and Verdin. The most curious bird I heard, sounded very much like a Western Screech Owl. I could not get eyes on the owl, but it seemed to be in a small ravine several hundred yards from the road. This was in the desert well below the mountains. When I hiked out to investigate, the bird went silent as I reached about a hundred yards from its suspected location. I scanned the area with my binoculars, but did not get eyes on the bird. There were no large trees, only a cutbank with burrows and 8-10 foot leafless mesquite and other desert brush in the wash. It resumed its calls after I retreated.

I plied my photo gathering efforts at a few stops, but wasn’t overly successful. I considered a second effort on Thursday, but the generator repair prevented me from having sufficient time. I’m certain this area has many avian treasures I did not uncover this day. Perhaps another time I can do a better job.

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