Most of the birding on this trip will be done on foot,
including an approximately 10-mile hike to see the Colima
Warbler.  This hike involves a nearly 2000-foot elevation
gain.  The walk to find the Golden-cheeked Warbler can
reach a mile or more, but it is on mostly level ground.  
Much of the rest of the birding will include short walks,
probably never more than a quarter mile from the van.
There will be periods of a few hours of travel by van, as
long distances are covered on the trip.

With sunrise around 7:15, you should expect to eat
breakfast around 6:00 most mornings, allowing for early
starts while temperatures are still low, and bird activity is
highest.  On the morning of the Colima Warbler hike you
will start the trail by 6:30.

Lunches will usually be picnic style, eaten in the field.  We
will make stops at grocery stores to stock up on supplies as
necessary.

The goal is to either be back at your lodging around 6:00
most evenings, with 6:30 departure for dinner, or you will
go to a restaurant at 6:00, with return to the hotel
afterwards.

Night birding may be offered at some points during the trip.


Day 1, Sunday, April 21, 2013:  Arrival into Midland, TX

You should schedule your arrival in Midland, TX, (airport
code MAF) before 2:00 the afternoon of
April 21.

You will be transferred to the hotel at
Davis Mountains
State Park
, after a birding stop at Lake Balmorhea.  The
lake is a great place to compare Western Grebes and
Clark's Grebes.  Cave Swallow

There will be a visit to a local store to pick up items for
lunches.  Then you will have the option of ending the day
at a bird feeding station in the Park to look for Montezuma
Quail.  While waiting for the quail to show themselves, you
may also be treated to views of Ladder-backed
Woodpecker, Say's Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher,
Phainopepla, Black-headed Grosbeak, Painted Bunting,
Pyrrhuloxia, Scott's Oriole.

Day 2:  Davis Mountains to Big Bend National Park

The restaurant opens at 7:00.  The night before, your
guide will review whether you should be there at 7:00, or if
you will bird around the Park before breakfast.  The
morning birding plan depends on when you see the quail.  
Once you leave the Park, you may have to choose
between birding in the higher elevations (Band-tailed
Pigeon, Violet-green Swallow, Gray Flycatcher, Pygmy
Nuthatch), or the grasslands south of the mountains
(Prairie Falcon, Cassin's Sparrow and possibly Mountain
Plover).  Your guide will review the bird possibilities for both
locations.

En route to Big Bend, you will stop at a private residence to
see Lucifer Hummingbird at their feeders.

Dinner will be at the restaurant in the National Park, a short
walk from your rooms.  Birding is possible around the lodge
grounds after dinner.

Day 3: Colima Warbler hike

This day is dedicated to seeing Colima Warbler.  You will
find it during a hike in the Chisos Mountains.
To allow you to hike as much as possible during cooler
times of day, you will begin the hike before sunrise, around
6:30.  A backpack is recommended so you can carry your
lunch and plenty of water.
Other birds to look for along the way include Zone-tailed
Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Blue-throated Hummingbird,
Acorn Woodpecker, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Black-crested
Titmouse, Painted Redstart and Scott's Oriole.
Expect to be back at the lodge mid-afternoon or later.
Optional evening birding around the lodge is possible.

Day 4:  Big Bend National Park birding

There are several other wonderful birding areas within the
Park, and you will explore a few of these today.  
Rio
Grande Village
and the Blue Creek Canyon area are
two places you will likely find plenty of birds.
Common Black-Hawk is a possibility today, as are Greater
Roadrunner, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Gray Vireo,
Crissal Thrasher, Painted Bunting and Orchard Oriole.

Day 5:  ...to the Hill Country
Today there is a 6.5 hour drive to the Hill Country of Texas,
with birding stops along the way.
If there are still some new species possible at Big Bend,
you can do some early morning birding before leaving the
national park behind.

At about the half way point, there will be a stop at
Amistad
NRA
.  Here it is possible to add to the water bird list for the
trip, including shorebirds (Snowy Plover is possible), Least
Grebe and Least Tern.

By late afternoon you will arrive at your lodging destination
in Vanderpool.  Optional evening birding is possible.

Day 6:  Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped
Vireo

The main goal for today is to see these two birds. You will
visit
Lost Maples State Park and Kerr Wildlife
Management Area
, both excellent sites to find these
species.  Other highlights possible during the day include
Green Kingfisher, Cave Swallow, Western Scrub-Jay
(Texas race may one day be given full species status),
Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Bronzed Cowbird, Hooded &
Scott's Orioles.

Day 7:  Hill Country to San Antonio

The morning can be spent looking for any missed species.  
Tropical Parula is one that is sometimes found in the area,
so it could be a target.
The time of your drive to San Antonio will depend on the
earliest flights home that day.
Detailed Itinerary
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Scott's Oriole
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Crissal Thrasher
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Painted Bunting
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Pyrrhuloxia
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Plain Chachalaca
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Cassin's Sparrow
Detailed Itinerary
Texas - Davis Mountains, Big Bend & the Hill Country
Montezuma Quail, Black-capped Vireo, Golden-cheeked & Colima Warbler...more!
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Black-crested Titmouse
photo by Bill Schmoker
Cave Swallow
photo by Bill Schmoker
Ash-throated Flycatcher
photo by Bill Schmoker
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
photo by Bill Schmoker
Hepatic Tanager
photo by Bill Schmoker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Texas Birding: Big Bend & the Hill Country
Please call Charles (in the USA at 720-320-1974 or toll free at 888-203-7464) or Ian
(in the UK at 07719-052820), and/or email
info@pibird.com. Also feel free to click
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