March 23 Deming, NM

We're in Deming, NM, at the moment doing laundry, then will head up to our favorite NM park, City of Rocks SP, for a couple of days.

We did go to the air show in Brownsville and had a very good time. The Blue Angels weren't there, but an F14 was that flew in formation with an old WWII P47--quite impressive. The whole show seemed to be dedicated to remembering WWII and they did reenactments of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Europe--setting off explosions on the ground, instead of actually dropping bombs! We enjoyed the plane maneuvers and just looking at the planes and waving to the pilots. They also had a rather impressive kite aerial ballet performance that was quite good. Riley and I both got sun-burned--Riley more than me.

B17 WWII Bomber at CAF Airshow

Wall of fire--bombing of Europe

F14 & P47 flying formation

F14 & P47 flying formation

The weather was wonderful, so we got down the motorcycle and did a lot of touring on it. Went to the Sabal Palms Audubon Bird Sanctuary and walked the trails looking for birds (surprise!). We finally got to see a Great Kiskadee, in fact Riley saw two. For as many as are supposed to be around, one would think we would have seen more. I'll include bird lists at the bottom for those interested. We still see a great many more birds than we can identify.

We spent another couple of days with Janette. She took me to her hairdresser and to trade my books, which I was able to do at the same place. Yea! She also had us to dinner, so we had another pleasant evening with her, Tommy, John and Robert. One of the new books I got was a Nevada Barr mystery, "Blind Descent." For a claustrophobe like me, it was very scary! Good writing, good book--thanks to Dick Scott for his recommendation of this series.

Next day Jan took us to Mission where we went by the old Houston homestead and the graveyard where Aunt Marian is buried. We also saw the beautiful orange orchards at Sharryland. Then we went on to Sullivan City and found the place where our grandparents home used to be. It didn't look the same--not enough cactus and all the oil tanks and pumps were gone. An elementary school had been built next door. Next, we went down to Los Ebonos to ride the hand-pulled ferry across to Mexico, but there had been too much rain and the ferry wasn't running. It's impressive to look at but, I understand, it's a bumpy ride. I really don't remember doing it as a child. In Los Ebonos we saw a yucca that was a tree--seven branches each in full bloom. Never knew they grew so big. Jan then showed us where Bentsen State Park was, right around the corner from our RV park, but we saved that tour for next day--too windy, chilly. I know, weather wimps. :-)

Janette & Margie

Sullivan City home site

Los Ebonos Ferry, Rio Grande

Huge Yucca

The next day we did go into Bentsen State Park. It is closed to all traffic; we took a tram into the park then got off and walked around a bit then caught a tram back. It works fairly well and there were lots of birds to be seen. The wind had stopped and it was a perfectly beautiful day. We had hoped to see a green kingfisher but no such luck. It's a lovely park and closing it to camping and traffic does seem to have brought the birds out. Of course, it helps that the park people set up blinds and feeders. The birds are always easier to see there then just walking through the woods.

We also spent a night at Falcon State Park where we saw an Eastern Phoebe that posed nicely for us, but we didn't take its picture. We were too busy looking it up in the bird book to think to take out the camera! We started seeing blue bonnets just north of Falcon and knew "Spring had sprung." Spent another night just outside of Del Rio, then drove into Big Bend National Park, one of our favorite places. This is a good time to be there as it hasn't gotten too hot yet and as a result lots of people were there this time and the camping at Chisos Basin was all full. The campground there is in the mountains and has all the best hikes, in our opinion. We were disappointed not to get to stay there but had a fine time anyway.

We spent the first night, Saturday, in Rio Grande Village, and Sunday morning there was a ranger-guided bird walk. This was great because we had someone to identify the birds for us if we couldn't. Although we did see a couple of birds that he didn't know either; we didn't feel so bad after that about not always finding a particular bird in our book. The best bird we saw was the Common Black Hawk. It mainly hangs out in Mexico and there is only one breeding pair in the US and that pair is in Big Bend. And we saw one of them--yea! (full list below). The next night we spent at Cottonwood campground and hiked into Santa Elena Canyon Monday morning.

Blue Bonnets along roadside in Big Bend

Margie in Santa Elena Canyon

Scenic view Big Bend

Scenic view Big Bend

Purple Prickly Pear Cactus Big Bend
Since then, we have spent a night in the Davis Mountains--cold nights again--and one here in Deming. We plan to spend a couple of days at City of the Rocks, then head into Tucson for a short visit with Randy & family, then on to the San Diego area to visit for a month with Lara & family. We will be staying at an RV Park in Imperial Beach which is about 6 miles from her apartment in San Ysidro, so not far from the border and very close to the coast. We haven't set up at an RV park for this long but once before, in Silverton, Colorado. We're kind of looking forward to being settled a bit. I'm still working on the embroidery on Alyssa's quilt so that top is not yet finished, but it's close.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

Bird Diary

Monday, March 14, 2005 Sabal Palm Audonbon Wildlife Refuge, Brownsville

Least Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Neotropic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Egret
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (red-billed)
Ruddy Duck--male & female
Plain Chachalaca
Common Moorhen
White-tipped Dove
Ringed Kingfisher
Great Kiskadee
Green Jay
Black-crested Titmouse
Black-throated Green Warbler
Red-winged Blackbird

Thursday, March 17, 2005 Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park

Altimira Oriole
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Green Jays (galore)
Cardinals--male & female
Least Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Ruddy Ducks
Plain Chachalaca
Common Moorhen
White-tipped Dove
Red-winged Blackbirds (galore)
Great-tailed Grackles
Great Blue Heron

Duck with black head & neck, white body, black tail feathers Warbler-sized bird with greenish-gray head, back & wings, mottled blue, brown, & white under-belly

Thursday, March 17, 2005 Falcon State Park

Angle of sun made bird identification difficult--near sun down. Saw many warblers and other birds but unable to identify.

Greater Roadrunner
Orange-crowned Warbler
Eastern Phoebe
Red-tailed Hawk

Saturday, March 19, 2005 Post County Park, Marathon, TX

Vermillion Flycatcher--male
Ladderback Woodpecker--female
American Coots
Pied-billed Grebe
White-winged Doves
Cardinal--male & female
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Red-tailed Hawk
Black and Turkey Vultures

Serveral warbler-sized birds we couldn't identify. Pied-billed Grebe would dive under the water then come up and lung at and chase Coots (breeding behavior?).

Sunday, March 20, 2005 Big Bend National Park, Rio Grande Village

Common Black Hawk
Cedar Waxwing
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Vermillion Flycatcher--male & female
Black Vultures
Turkey Vultures
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
White-winged Dove
Inca Dove
Northern Mockingbird
Greater Roadrunner

Tuesday, March 21, 2005 Prude Ranch near Fort Davis, Texas

Acorn Woodpecker
Chipping Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Warbler--male

Saw lots of birds here that we couldn't identify. Good birding spot with more time to spend looking.

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