Water

One of the tricks that western birders seem to know is that if you can find water, you can usually find birds.  That’s been the case for me the last week or so.  At Big Bend, we stopped at an old ranch site where a dilapidated windmill, clanking away, delivered a little water in drips but attracted some interesting birds including a Green-tailed Towhee.

Here at Davis Mountain State Park, where I have seen a number of life birds including the Montezuma Quail, they have water at all feeding stations.  I put out a water drip at our campsite and regularly attract Canyon Towhees, Black-crested Titmice, White-winged Doves, Cactus Wrens, and a host of different types of sparrows.

Not far from here is a dry creek which has a little “seep” — a wet spot under some clumps of bushes.  It’s about a quarter-mile hike up the creek bed and as you get there, the birds all fly off but ten minutes later, you can see dozens of birds.  I was particularly looking for the Black-chinned Sparrow which I saw.  (It’s a little drab this time of year — mostly grey — but it’s Black-throated cousin — also there — is starting to show breeding plumage.)  Here’s my list from yesterday morning for about 30 minutes of watching and photographing:

Black-chinned Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
White-winged Dove
Black-crested Titmouse
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Pyrrhuloxia
Cactus Wren
Chipping Sparrow
Western Scrub-Jay
Canyon Towhee
Phainopepla
Lark Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Northern Mockingbird
Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Here are a few photos I took at the “seep:”

A Black-chinned Sparrow in non-breeding plumage

I love the Black-crested Titmouse

A pair of Cactus Wrens
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