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Field Guides Tour Report
Texas' Big Bend & Hill Country 2016
Apr 23, 2016 to May 2, 2016
Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory

A few scenes from Texas: the Mule Ears formation and Boot Canyon from Big Bend National Park and, at right, sunset at the Frio Bat Cave near Concan. (Photos by guide Chris Benesh)

The 2016 Big Bend and Texas Hill Country tour got off to a bit of a rocky start thanks to some unforeseen circumstances at the San Antonio Airport on the first afternoon. But we did eventually make our way to Del Rio. Our following morning there was terrific, with a nice assortment of species including Ringed and Green kingfishers, White-collared Seedeater, Olive Sparrow, Great Kiskadee, Couch's Kingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, and Yellow-breasted Chat. We then headed westward, crossing the Pecos River and paying a visit to Langtry before continuing on to Big Bend National Park.

Our first morning at Big Bend saw us visiting Blue Creek Canyon where we were able to track down our first Varied Buntings, Gray Vireo, and at least three different Lucifer Hummingbirds. An Olive-sided Flycatcher was also there. Another Olive-sided was a highlight of our afternoon visit to Dugout Wells. But not before we were able to get nice views of a pair of Black-capped Vireos. A pair of Yellow-headed Blackbirds added a splash of color to the Dugout Wells experience.

Our second morning in Big Bend saw us visiting Rio Grande Village. The birding was good with cooperative nesting Common Black Hawks and Gray Hawks, along with a some nice views of a variety of migrants and breeders. Vermilion Flycatchers were everywhere. There was a migrant Cassin's Kingbird and Cassin's Vireo, along with a Plumbeous Vireo there. There were also three species of bunting (four if you throw in Blue Grosbeak, which is an oversized bunting). A few Clay-colored Sparrows were mixed in with the Chippings. In the afternoon we made a walk around the basin grounds, and got quick looks at Black-chinned Sparrows, Black-crested Titmouse, and some black-eared Bushtits.

The third morning was the big hike into the high country of the Chisos to Boot Springs in search of the Colima Warbler. Our route was up the Pinnacles Trail. At around the three mile mark, we came upon our first Colima. The bird was really cooperative and sat for us while we all had looks and took pictures. A few turned back at this point, while most of us continued on to Boot Springs. The springs were active; several more Colimas, Painted Redstarts, Cordilleran Flycatchers, and a heard-only Dusky-capped Flycatcher were of note. A Western Tanager en route was a local rarity. Blue-throated and Broad-tailed hummingbirds were also present.

Our final morning featured a visit to Cottonwood Campground. There was a bit of activity there, and we had a nice Great Horned Owl, a rare Brown Thrasher, a glimpse of Bullock's Oriole, and some Inca Doves among the more common species. We then headed back to the lodge to pack up and head to Alpine. We made a couple of stops for Chihuahuan Raven and Lilian's Meadowlark en route. The rest of the afternoon was spent searching for Montezuma Quail. We managed to hear a male and female calling on the hillside in front of us, but they did not materialize. Once again a beautiful night sky.

Our morning in the Davis Mountains began with some more searching for quail and was rewarded with three or four birds standing near the road at the park. We then headed to Lake Balmorhea, where we saw lots of Clark's Grebes and White-faced Ibis, a handsome Snowy Plover, and a rare Whimbrel, among others. We could hear Brewer's Sparrows churring in the distance there and had a male Lark Bunting in full breeding plumage. And then we made the long drive to the Edwards Plateau and Concan.

After a tremendous overnight thunderstorm, we headed north to Lost Maples SNA, where was took in a variety of songs, mixing birds from the east, west, and south. We had a couple of nice looks at Golden-cheeked Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, and an amazing Louisiana Waterthrush that flew in and began to sing right in front of us. Acadian Flycatchers were nice, too. It was interesting to see and hear south Texas birds like Olive Sparrow, Great Kiskadee, and White-tipped Dove establishing themselves there. In the afternoon, we birded around the Neal's Lodges area, where the highlight was the striking male Tropical Parula. Wow!

Our final morning we spent on Highway 344 between Uvalde and Bracketville. This amazing road gave us our best looks yet of Gray Vireo and several new sparrows. Singing Bobwhite were a real treat too. From there, we headed to Fort Clark Springs, where we eventually came across some Green Jays, along with Black-throated Green Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo. That afternoon we headed out to the Frio Bat Cave for an amazing evening with the Brazilian Freetail Bats and a yummy meal that Sharon Mackie and Caroline Lewis from the Field Guides Austin office brought out for us. We wrapped things up with a nice Eastern Screech-Owl on our way out of the cave property.


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

A pair of Blue-winged Teal, one of the highlights of our visit to Lake Balmorhea. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – Seen in Del Rio and again near Uvalde.
WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa) – A couple of birds flew past the patio deck at Neal's Lodges.
GADWALL (Anas strepera)
AMERICAN WIGEON (Anas americana)
MALLARD (NORTHERN) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos) – Really these consisted of mostly park ducks showing features of green-headed birds.
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)

The lake also featured a number of handsome Clark's Grebes. (photo by guide Chris Benesh)

LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – Several sightings in Big Bend NP.
NORTHERN BOBWHITE (Colinus virginianus) – We had at least four of these on RT344.

After a thorough search, we managed to track down a few Montezuma Quail in the Davis Mountains. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – A brief encounter with at least three males in the Davis Mountains.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – Two of these were at the Duck Pond in Del Rio.
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

While at Big Bend we came across some Scaled Quail, aka cotton tops. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

WESTERN GREBE (Aechmophorus occidentalis)
CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii) – Some good studies of this species at Lake Balmorhea.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – One at Duck Pond in Del Rio.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Del Rio was good for kingfishers including this Green. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Three out of place birds in the desert at Big Bend NP.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

Del Rio was the motherlode for Yellow-breasted Chats! (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos) – One at Lake Balmorhea was a nice surprise!
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

The Duck Pond in Del Rio was a great place to study Purple Martins and Chimney Swifts. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – Great looks at the nesting pair at Rio Grande Village.
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – Seen on the drive out to Del Rio and again on our last full day.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – We had a pair of birds at Rio Grande Village where they have been nesting for years.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus)
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – One was seen at Lost Maples where they may be rare breeders.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – A couple of sightings in Big Bend NP, but our best views were at Davis Mountains State Park.

And Del Rio has become a fairly reliable spot to find the White-collared Seedeater like this male. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – Most impressive were the hawks hunting bats on our final evening.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – One seen briefly in Del Rio.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

After scrutinizing a lot of Turkey Vultures, this Zone-tailed Hawk appeared in the Davis Mountains. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus) – We managed to find one along the shore at Lake Balmorhea.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
UPLAND SANDPIPER (Bartramia longicauda)

This Whimbrel was out of place at Lake Balmorhea. This species normally migrates along the coast. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

WHIMBREL (AMERICAN) (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus) – Somewhat of a rarity in the interior, we had a single bird at Lake Balmorhea.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

This handsome Great Horned Owl showed nicely at Cottonwood Campground. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (WHITE-TIPPED) (Leptotila verreauxi angelica) – Heard at Lost Maples where this species has recently colonized. [*]
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – We encountered three individuals in the Hill Country.
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)

While this tiny Elf Owl peered out of its roost hole at Rio Grande Village. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Strigidae (Owls)
EASTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops asio) – Seen on our way out of the bat cave.
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus)
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – We were lucky to find one at a day roost in Rio Grande Village.
BURROWING OWL (WESTERN) (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) – This was a lucky find on our way to Balmorhea. This species has really declined in west Texas.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii)

Big Bend is a fantastic place for Greater Roadrunners. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW (Antrostomus carolinensis) [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – Well seen in Boot Spring.
LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer) – We had terrific looks at a couple of males in Blue Creek Canyon.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

One of the male Lucifer Hummingbirds we found in Blue Creek Canyon. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – Up high in the Chisos.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – We had a high flyover in Del Rio and one perched over the Nueces River.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Good looks at the Duck Pond in Del RIo.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)
GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons)

One of the three Olive-sided Flycatchers seen on the trip. This species has the longest migration of any North American flycatcher. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – We saw one on our way west near Uvalde, and as many as five more on our last full day.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – A couple of folks saw this species near Uvalde.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – Three nice studies of this species in Big Bend.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – In the Davis Mountains and Lake Balmorhea.

The one the more confiding species in the Chisos Mountains is the Mexican Jay which were very curious of hikers. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – A couple of these at Fort Clark Springs.
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – Great looks at this robust empid at Lost Maples.
LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus) – One heard in the Hill Country. [*]
DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri) – One seen briefly on the hike up to Boot Spring.
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis) – Some nice views of this species at Boot Spring.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe)
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

The striking Vermilion Flycatcher was a familar sight along the Rio Grande. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – One called overhead while we were at Boot Spring, though we couldn't get a visual. [*]
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – In Del Rio, Fort Clark Springs, and also at Lost Maples where a recent colonist.
COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii) – In Del Rio and again at Fort Clark Springs.
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus)
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – What an amazing flycatcher!

After working hard to see Gray Vireo in Blue Creek Canyon, it was nice to have really rewarding views in the Hill Country. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii)
BLACK-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo atricapilla) – Nice views of a singing bird in the Chisos basin.
GRAY VIREO (Vireo vicinior) – Terrific looks at this species in the Hill Country on Rt 334 as well as in Blue Creek Canyon.
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – A Hill Country bird.
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)
CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii) – Nice studies of this and the next species at Rio Grande Village.
BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

And of course the Colima Warbler is perhaps the most sought after of the birds in Big Bend. We had some memorable encounters up high in the Chisos. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas) – We tracked down a couple of these at Fort Clark Springs.
WESTERN SCRUB-JAY (WOODHOUSE'S) (Aphelocoma californica woodhouseii) – Since the completion of our tour, Western Scrub-Jay has been split into two species. We saw Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay both in the Davis Mountains (woodhouseii) and in the Hill Country at Lost Maples (texana).
MEXICAN JAY (COUCH'S) (Aphelocoma wollweberi couchii)
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

The long narrow bill of this Rock Wren allows it to find invertebrates tucked in to cracks in the rocky terrain it prefers. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
CAVE SWALLOW (Petrochelidon fulva)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)
BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus atricristatus)

It was an exceptional year for Cedar Waxwings. These were drinking at the feeding station in the Davis Mountains. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – Always a treat to see this species with its cascading song in the canyon lands.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

This remarkable Louisiana Waterthrush flew in to a tree right in front of us and began singing. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura)
Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula) – A couple seen along the Pinnacles Trail.

We had wonderful views of this Tropical Parula, right on the grounds on our lodging. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – We connected with a couple of these at Fort Clark Springs.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre)
BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum) – One was present at Cottonwood Campground in BBNP. This species is scarce this far west.
LONG-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma longirostre) – Seen in Del Rio and again at Fort Clark Springs.
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) [*]
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

An immature Broad-winged Hawk seen at Lost Maples. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) – It was a good year for waxwings with a number of sightings.
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – We had a couple of these in the Davis Mountains SP.

As the free-tailed bats flowed out of the cave, Red-tailed Hawks came swooping in to snag them out of the air. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – An amazing show at Lost Maples where one perched up and sang out in the open in front of us.
COLIMA WARBLER (Oreothlypis crissalis) – This species is generally speaking the most sought after one on a Big Bend tour. We were fortunate to have several wonderful encounters with this species along the Pinnacles Trail and again at Boot Spring.
NASHVILLE WARBLER (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) – A couple of these were seen at Neals and Fort Clark Springs.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
TROPICAL PARULA (NORTHEAST MEXICO) (Setophaga pitiayumi nigrilora) – Another real treat of the trip was this singing bird right on the grounds at Neals.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)

We saw a nice variety of native and non-native mammals. This Collared Peccary was at Rio Grande Village. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica) – One of the treats of birding in the Hill Country is the sweet sound of singing Yellow-throated Warblers.
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – Denise spotted one on our Pinnacles hike in Big Bend.
GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER (Setophaga chrysoparia) – Lost Maples gave us some good viewing opportunities. Another highly sought after species.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – A single bird at Fort Clark Springs.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – While more common in Arizona, the Chisos Mountains are home to this species too. We saw one on our hike up to Boot Spring.
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – Del Rio has got to be the best place on Earth to see this species well. We had so many nice studies there.

Some of the Pronghorn seen on our way to the Davis Mountains. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (WHITE-COLLARED) (Sporophila torqueola sharpei) – Del Rio has recently become a pretty good place to find this scarce species too. We had nice looks at a male there.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CASSIN'S SPARROW (Peucaea cassinii) – Perhaps more memorable for its song than its appearance.
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum) – We had one along route 334 in the Hill Country.
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) – Another Rio Grande Valley specialty that gets to Del Rio and the Hill Country.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (Spizella pallida)
BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis) – After some work, we managed to track down one near the Chisos Lodge.
FIELD SPARROW (Spizella pusilla)

A big group of Barbary Sheep south of Alpine. Introduced in the 1950’s, the population in Texas is now thought to be over 5000. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BREWER'S SPARROW (Spizella breweri)
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – This is one of the sharper looking sparrows.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)
LARK BUNTING (Calamospiza melanocorys) – A nice flock seen on our way to Big Bend and a handsome male at Lake Balmorhea.
DARK-EYED JUNCO (GRAY-HEADED) (Junco hyemalis caniceps) – A lingering bird around the Chisos Lodge.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)

There are a lot of interesting and amazing invertebrates in Texas including this millipede seen at the Pecos River view. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps)
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus)
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) [*]
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus)
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea) – Nice singing birds at Lost Maples.
VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor) – Some great looks this year in Blue Creek Canyon.
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris) – Always a treat to see this colorful species.
DICKCISSEL (Spiza americana) – It was a good year for this species in the Hill Country with hundreds around.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – Three sightings on the trip. These were all Lilian's types which are paler and shorter/whiter-tailed than typical Easterns.
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – These handsome icterids were migrants at Roy Bean's place in Langtry and at Dugout Wells.
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – Nice to get shown a nest of this species at Langtry.
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – Some nice studies of this handsome oriole.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Spinus tristis) – One was at Lake Balmorhea.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

WESTERN PIPISTRELLE (Pipistrellus hesperus)
BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BAT (Tadarida brasiliensis) – One of the most amazing experiences seeing many thousands of these pouring out of the Frio Bat Cave near Concan on our final evening of the tour.
EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii)
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus)
TEXAS ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus interpres)
MEXICAN GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus mexicanus)
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus)
FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger)
GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
COYOTE (Canis latrans)
BLACK BEAR (Ursus americanus) – A couple of folks spotted a mother and cub during one of our drives into the basin.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)
SPOTTED DEER (Axis axis) [I]
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus)
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)
BLACKBUCK (Antilope cervicapra) [I]
BARBARY SHEEP (Ammotragus lervia) [I]


A few other critters seen include:

Coachwhip - seen at Rio Grande Village.

Plain-bellied Water Snake - seen swimming in pond at Lost Maples.

Texas Earless Lizard - Blue Creek Canyon, etc.

Green Anole - Lost Maples.

Texas Spiny Lizard - at Lost Maples.

Marbled Whiptail - Seen at Cottonwood Campground.

Common Spotted Whiptail - seen at the Pecos River.

Totals for the tour: 214 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa