Birder's Guide

MAR 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 41 of 75

Texas's Sky Islands 40 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2016 this site hosted a Fan-tailed Warbler and a Northern (Mountain) Pygmy-Owl. An all-around great place for migrants and resident specialties, be warned that this site does not cater to the Prius-warrior. A 4.2-mile gravel road, maintained for high- clearance vehicles only, leads to a trail. An easy trail for a mile or so, it then begins a steep and rocky ascent ending in an ephemeral waterfall. To get to Pine Can- yon from Marathon, take US-385 south 70 miles to Panther Junction Visitor Center. ezuma Quail. With recently updated feed- ing stations, the state park offers the most relaxed birding atmosphere in the Texas mountains. Acorn Woodpecker, White-winged Dove, Black-crested Titmouse, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Lesser Goldfnch are year- round mainstays at the feeders. In the winter, focks of Dark-eyed Junco join the group. Montezuma Quail require patience, but the park staff keep excellent tabs on the species and should have up-to-date infor- mation on the best viewing times. Across from the main park, the state park maintains a primitive area that has trails along the cottonwood-lined Limpia Creek. Common Black-Hawk breeds in multiple locations along this creek, as do Zone-tailed Hawk and occasionally Gray Hawk. Exploring the rest of the Davis Moun- TOP TO BOTTOM: n Blue-throated Hummingbird. Photo © Brian Gibbons n Say's Phoebe. Photo © Cameron Carver n Varied Bunting. Photo © Jay Packer n The Basin of Big Bend National Park. Map © Janet Mrazek From here, turn west and drive three miles to Chi- sos Basin Rd., where the ascent into the Chisos Mountains begins imme- diately. From Alpine, take TX-118 south 80 miles to Study Butte. Contin- ue east into the park 23 miles before turning onto Chisos Basin Rd. Return- ing from the park, driv- ers are required to stop at U.S. Border Patrol check- points. Foreign nationals should carry adequate documentation. The park entrance fee is $25 and is good for sev- en full days. Chisos Ba- sin Campground has 60 sites, and there are several backcountry campsites up the mountain. Chisos Mountain Lodge is a great alternative to camping. Davis Mountains With more surface area above 5,000 feet than Texas's other mountain ranges, the Davis Moun- tains are a smorgasbord of bird life, but much of the land is private or limited in access. Davis Mountains State Park offers the most regular public access. It also happens to be an excellent place to view Mont-

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