Friday, April 10, 2015

Big Bend National Park: Flora & Fauna

Some of the wonderful things Zak and I saw in Big Bend National Park weren't on hikes or at marked points of interest. They were just right out our window as we were driving by, resulting in numerous instances of slammed brakes, three-point u-turns and blinking hazard lights as we pulled off the road for a closer look.

Bluebonnet, Big Bend National Park
The first bluebonnets I'd seen this year were just starting to bloom in the park.  Rather than try and capture a vast expanse of them, I attempted instead to bring out the beauty of a lone isolated flower.

Phainopepla, Big Bend National Park
This Phainopepla was a real treat.  I spotted him as we were driving by Sam Nail Ranch.  Another lady also pulled off and was slowly creeping closer for a shot when he flew off.  She asked excitedly if I'd gotten him, and I appreciated her genuine enthusiasm for someone to have a good photo even if it wasn't her.

Yucca Flower, Big Bend National Park
Yucca flower along Grapevine Hills Road.  The late afternoon sun gave it some nice lighting.

Curve-billed Thrasher, Big Bend National Park
Curve-billed Thrasher.  The only color to speak of in the shot is the bird's orange eye.  Displaying it in black and white brings more attention to the three-forked tree branch and texture in the feathers.

Jackrabbit, Big Bend National Park
We saw about a dozen jackrabbits along the Old Maverick Road on our way to Santa Elena Canyon.  But since it was before dawn, there was no chance of getting a decent shot of them.  This fellow was just south of the Persimmon Gap Visitor Center as we were leaving the park for the final time, bidding us a fond farewell as he nonchalantly chewed on his stalk.  Check out the blood vessels in those ears!

Turkey Vulture
We'd long since left the park and were nearing the outskirts of Fort Stockton when we passed some fresh roadkill and a turkey vulture who was already at work cleaning it up.  He didn't stray too far from his meal, keeping a wary eye on it and me.

What a treat to have so many unexpected finds on our trip!

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