David McDonald Photography
June 2, 2009
Bulletin #80 – West Texas – Big Bend Nat’l Park #2
We spent 2 days in Big Bend National Park and the adjacent Christmas Mountains.
There were several flycatchers that I photographed. Most interesting were the many Vermilion Flycatchers (Pyrocephalus rubinus). In fact Kutac in his book of birding locations in Texas said that Rio Grande Village in Big Bend NP had the most of this species he had ever seen. I had good photos of the beautiful male already, so was interested in other plumages.
Here is an adult female with a large caterpillar in her mouth. She has a pink wash on her belly. These are small birds at 6” in length.
belly is obvious. The bushy crest is also nicely seen.
Also in Big Bend NP is the Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina). Sibley suggests that the populations in Big Bend and Arizona might ultimately be different species, so I wanted to get photos of these birds as I already had the AZ birds. He states that the Texas birds have ‘richer blue’ heads than the AZ birds. Here is the AZ subspecies for comparison. It is much paler
We also found several Pronghorn Antelopes in fields along the road. This was only my second time to see these beautiful animals and never so close to the road. It was especially a treat to find them in a field of verbena wildflowers in the middle of the desert.