Memories of Guadalupe Mountains National Park

During the last days of the calendar (2020) I was leaving New Mexico, determined to revisit Texas. After spending Christmas day at Bitter Lake NWR near Roswell (New Mexico), I drove south on US-285. When I reached the city of Carlsbad, I made a right-hand turn on US-62. I’d heard stories about the Guadalupe Mountains and as my 2021 Texas tour plans called for a stop at Big Bend, what better time to fit a visit into my itinerary.

The route carried me past Carlsbad Caverns, a worthy destination on its own merits, but I once visited there in the late 60s, and with the protocols recommended for the Covid-19 pandemic, I talked myself out of revisiting this place. Instead, I pulled into the nearby Whites City RV park for the night before resuming my south-bound trek. A mere 35 mile further the next morning, I found myself on Texas soil and entering the National Park at Pine Springs.

At an elevation of 8751′, the summit of Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in Texas, and towers more than 3000 feet above the former sea floor and present day desert to the south. To the east, no other prominence in North America is as high.

I birded Pine Springs the afternoon I arrived and again the following morning. In that short sampling, I gathered a wealth of images. Many of the species were in the category of what I’d call hard-to-get. I was lucky on my morning shoot. I found a temporary puddle that attracted many species of birds, and even a dozen thirsty Mule Deer. <Read the details of my visit Here!>

It’s hard to say what the seasonal rhythms of bird-life are in this region, but I can testify that late December here is off-the-scale outstanding.

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