A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Texas' Big Bend & Hill Country 2022

April 23-May 2, 2022 with Chris Benesh & Jesse Fagan guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
The unusual weather that crept in on us in Big Bend National Park made for some wonderfully colorful skies. Here is sunrise over the Chisos Mountain Lodge. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

2022 saw Field Guides’ successful return to Big Bend National Park. All in all, it was quite a successful venture. We started things off with a meet-up in San Antonio and then quickly headed west to Del Rio for the night. The following morning saw us birding near the banks of the Rio Grande, where we encountered a variety of species normally thought of as south Texas specialties, such as Couch’s Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Long-billed Thrasher, and Olive Sparrow. We then headed west across the Pecos River, arriving in the late afternoon to the national park and the scenic Chisos Mountains. The following morning saw a dramatic shift in the weather with an unstable air mass settling in over the park. This hampered our efforts birding around the basin, but we were not entirely deterred, seeing a decent mix of birds despite conditions. We took time to take in the dinosaur exhibit and Panther Junction Visitors Center in light of the weather and explored Dugout Wells. The following day, we headed down to Rio Grande Village and observed the nesting pair of Common Black Hawk, as well as seeing a furtive Gray Hawk. Perhaps the rarest species encountered was the Canada Goose that came flying in - quite a rare species in the park! We did an afternoon hike into Blue Creek Canyon, but the afternoon heat kept bird activity down.

The next morning was our hike into the high country in search of Colima Warbler and other goodies. There was evidence of fire damage from the 2021 fire, especially around Boot Spring. But the hike was beautiful and birdy, and the warblers cooperated wonderfully. There was a territorial male at mile three on the Pinnacles Trail that showed off wonderfully. Painted Redstart, Zone-tailed Hawk, and a mix of Empidonax flycatchers were nice bonuses there too.

On our last morning in the park we decided to return to the water treatment plant in the basin. Turns out we shared some of our time there with a black bear as well as nice Varied Bunting, and a couple of rare Zonotrichia sparrows. We could hear and eventually saw a White-throated Sparrow. But rarer still was the Golden-crowned Sparrow the group spotted coming to the water. It didn’t stick around long, but long enough for some quick pix.

After a brief stop at the Old Sam Nail Ranch, we headed north to the Davis Mountains, with a roadside stop to take in some Chihuahuan Ravens and the newly split Chihuahuan Meadowlark. The rest of the afternoon was spent searching for quail without success. We picked up the search the following morning, and while we did not have any quail, we did have a nice mix of birds at the Madera Picnic Area, including Gray Flycatcher. Then it was off to Lake Balmorhea, where there were lots of grebes and ducks, and a lost White Ibis in the mix. The afternoon drive gave us a feel for the vastness of Texas, crossing the western half and ending up in the Hill Country in Utopia.

The following morning may have been the favorite of the trip, a visit to Lost Maples State Natural Area. Few places are as scenic and rich with bird species. We marveled at all of the bird song and activity we encountered there. There were so many highlights there, with Golden-cheeked Warbler, Tropical Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-capped Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher among the many. An afternoon outing north of Utopia found us a few more new species including an irate Eastern Screech-Owl. Our last full day was spent working the western edge of the plateau in the direction of Fort Clark Springs and Bracketville, where highlights included Black-capped and Gray vireos, Dickcissels, Green Jays, a Prothonotary Warbler, and Green Kingfisher. All that was left was our yummy picnic dinner at the Frio Bat Cave followed by the spectacle of many thousands of free-tailed bats streaming out of the cave. A memorable finale!

On behalf of Jesse and myself, we wish to thank you all for being a part of the Big Bend and Hill Country experience! You were a great crew to travel with, and we appreciate your patience, wildlife spotting, and companionship. Good birding to all of you!

—Chris Benesh

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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

There was a big flock of these at Duck Pond in Del Rio.

Field Guides Birding Tours
What the heck is going on with the weather? Starting off with the intention of birding the Window Trail, 55 degree temperatures and 25 knot winds made us reconsider and stick closer to the lodge. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)

One seen near Rio Grande Village was a rare visitor to the park.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors)

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)

MEXICAN DUCK (Anas diazi)

We had some good studies of this relatively recently split species at Lake Balmorhea.


RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

NORTHERN BOBWHITE (Colinus virginianus)

A few seen scurrying into the grass west of Uvalde.

SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata)

The drought has really hammered this species in Big Bend. Unfortunately our only encounter was of some flushing off of the side of the road on our way to Rio Grande Village.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

WESTERN GREBE (Aechmophorus occidentalis)

CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii)

Quite a few of these at Lake Balmorhea where they outnumbered Western Grebe about three to one.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A Greater Roadrunner was a repeat visitor around the parking area of the Chisos Lodge. Photo by Andrew Kenny.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) [*]

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina)

A couple in Del Rio and two more at Daniel's Ranch in BBNP.

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (WHITE-TIPPED) (Leptotila verreauxi angelica)

One showed really nicely at Lost Maples.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)

We witnessed an amazing display with a tail-wagging male trying to impress a female in Terlingua. She wasn't having it.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

One was seen flying around the Frio Bat Cave.

CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW (Antrostomus carolinensis) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
Periodically our hike up into the high country of the Chisos Mountains was accompanied by noisy flocks of Mexican Jays. This isolated population in the Chisos is somewhat different from those in southeast Arizona. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.
Apodidae (Swifts)

CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica)

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

BLUE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis clemenciae)

A couple of lucky folks saw this species in the basin, but it wasn't evident at Boot Springs, where the fire had really thinned out the trees.

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

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There has been a pair of Common Black Hawks nesting at Rio Grande Village for more than two decades and we were fortunate to see a bird on the nest and this mate on sentry nearby. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii)

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor)

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This tour is a wonderful one to get to know Yellow-breasted Chat, the only member of the newly described family Icteriidae. You can almost hear the notes pouring out of its bill. Photo by Andrew Kenny.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

One adult was at Lake Balmorhea, where they are rare.

WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Andrew also captured this exquisite portrait of an Ash-throated Flycatcher, the most commonly encountered Myiarchus flycatcher on the tour.
Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus)

A nesting pair was at Rio Grande Village.

HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus)

Seen on the final morning west of Uvalde.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)

One was seen at Daniel's Ranch. This particular pair of birds has nested here for years but remain very wary.

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

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Andrew again did magic with this Western Wood-Pewee. Because of the vast geography of the state, we were able to see both Eastern and Western wood-pewees on the same tour!

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

The only one seen was on the Pinnacles hike harassing Turkey Vultures.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (Tyto alba)

Strigidae (Owls)

EASTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops asio)

A memorable encounter near Utopia.

GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus)

BARRED OWL (Strix varia) [*]

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

A good encounter near Del Rio.

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

We eventually all had good scope views of one at Fort Clark Springs.

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Chihuahuan Ravens are not known for sitting around to have their picture taken so this cooperative bird was a real treat. We encountered a large flock of them on our way to the Davis Mountains from Big Bend. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Always a crowd pleaser, this species showed well for us in the Chisos Mountains.

GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons)


NORTHERN FLICKER (Colaptes auratus)

There were a couple of Red-shafted birds seen at the McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

One flyover at Daniel's Ranch.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens)

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens)

LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Andrew again with an amazing composition of Cactus Wren in a cholla cactus. This species is adapted to living in harsh cactus-filled desert landscapes.

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii)

GRAY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax wrightii)

DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri)

CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis)

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe)

SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)

GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the highlights of our picnic breakfast in the Davis Mountains was encountering this territorial Gray Flycatcher, the most pallid of the western Empidonax. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Del Rio.

COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii)

Seen in Del Rio and Bracketville.

CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)

Eight seen at Daniel's Ranch was a high count for this eBird hotspot.

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus)


Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BLACK-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo atricapilla)

WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii)

Field Guides Birding Tours
After working hard to see this species farther east, we had this wonderful pair of Black-capped Vireos pop into view north of Bracketville, and even shared the stage with Gray Vireo for a short time. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GRAY VIREO (Vireo vicinior)

HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii)

PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)

Laniidae (Shrikes)

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas)

WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the aforementioned Gray Vireos that Andrew Kenny captured so well here. This species is at the eastern edge of its range on the westernmost portion of the Edwards Plateau.

MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)

BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus atricristatus)

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)

VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of our most prized targets in the Hill Country was Golden-cheeked Warbler, and they did not disappoint, as evidenced by this Andrew Kenny image. We ended up finding a couple of nests as well.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

CAVE SWALLOW (Petrochelidon fulva)

Nice views of birds swirling over the bat cave.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)

Regulidae (Kinglets)

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Corthylio calendula)

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)

One was in the Davis Mountains.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura)

Nice views of one in Blue Creek Canyon.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)

At the Pecos River Overlook.

CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Though we had seen our first in Big Bend National Park, this highly vocal Tropical Parula put on an amazing show for us at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)

CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)

One was seen briefly at the San Nail Ranch.

CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre)

The only ones seen turned out to be a pair of birds at the restaurant in Terlingua.

LONG-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma longirostre)

Good studies of this species in Del Rio.

CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale)

A few folks got on to the skulky bird that Jeff had spotted at Dugout Wells.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had time to venture out to Fort Clark Springs and we treated to a couple of Green Jays, a species more common in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Photo by Paul Beerman.

WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)

A handsome male was at the McDonald Observatory.

HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)

One came in to the water treatment plant.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)


Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CASSIN'S SPARROW (Peucaea cassinii)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Fort Clark Springs held a surprise or two, like this stunning Prothonotary Warbler that showed off for us. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (Spizella pallida)

BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis)

FIELD SPARROW (Spizella pusilla)

Several were seen along Cornelius Road north of Utopia.

BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata)

LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)

LARK BUNTING (Calamospiza melanocorys)

Sadly, a male seen flying across the park road near the Sam Nail Ranch was the only one we encountered.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia atricapilla)

One spotted coming in to the water at the basin water treatment plant was a rare find, rare enough in fact to be reviewed and accepted by the Texas Rare Bird Committee as record number 2022-44.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Near Utopia we encountered this Eastern Screech-Owl that seemed displeased by our attention. Paul Beerman captured the moment it launched itself from its roost site.

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis)

Heard and seen at the water treatment plant.

VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)

Another sparrow that came in to the water at the treatment plant.

SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)

LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)

CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)

RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps)

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)


Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (CHIHUAHUAN) (Sturnella magna lilianae)

Since the tour in April this species has been officially split from Eastern Meadowlark and will be known as Chihuahuan Meadowlark, Sturnella lilianae.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Paul also got this great shot of White-tipped Dove, a species that has been advancing northward with the warming climate. It is now locally common in the Hill Country.

ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius)

HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)

BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)

SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum)

It was a very good year for this species in the park.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)


BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula)

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Another real surprise was this White Ibis that appeared out of nowhere at Lake Balmorhea. There are very few records for west Texas. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)

LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla)

Bird on territory at Lost Maples.


Several seen at Lost Maples.

PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea)

A nice surprise at Fort Clark Springs.

TENNESSEE WARBLER (Leiothlypis peregrina)

A migrant was seen north of Utopia.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata)

Our only one was at Lost Maples.

COLIMA WARBLER (Leiothlypis crissalis)

A terrific experience with this highly sought after species.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (Leiothlypis ruficapilla)

MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

TROPICAL PARULA (NORTHEAST MEXICO) (Setophaga pitiayumi nigrilora)

Two seen with one at Daniel's Ranch and a second one at Lost Maples.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Jeff Turner took this wonderful shot of a Black Bear in the Chisos Mountains. There were a remarkable number of sightings on the tour this year, far exceeding any prior year.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica)

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)

One on the Pinnacles hike.

GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER (Setophaga chrysoparia)

Wow, wow, wow. Great views at Lost Maples.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)

PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus)

A handsome pair of birds was in the busy warbler flock we encountered on the Pinnacles Trail.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)

Better views of this species in the Davis Mountains.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Rock Squirrel was on top of the world near the crest of the Pinnacles Trail in the Chisos Mountains. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)

PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus)

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus)

One in Bracketville was a bit far west.

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)

LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena)

A few of us got on to a female bird on the Pinnacles Trail.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor)

A beautiful male came in to the water at the treatment plant.

PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This composite image shows just how crazy the weather got while we were in the Chisos Mountains. The temperature was 55 degrees and the wind was gusting up to 25 knots! Thankfully, these are not the normal conditions here in late April.

DICKCISSEL (Spiza americana)


VIRGINIA OPOSSUM (Didelphis virginianus)

BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BAT (Tadarida brasiliensis)

NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus)

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)

BLACK BEAR (Ursus americanus)

WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa) [I]

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]

Totals for the tour: 217 bird taxa and 20 mammal taxa