Big Bend Conservancy
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Big Bend Ranch State ParkPreview: The 300,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park extends along the Rio Grande for 60 miles between Presidio and Lajitas and encompasses the geologically unique Solitario and scenic Bofecillos Creek. Park information and interpretation are available at the Barton Warnock Environmental Center at Lajitas and at Fort Leaton and Sauceda. The Warnock Center also offers a self-guided botanical garden, featuring characteristic Chihuahuan Desert plants. Fort Leaton was built in 1848 on the site of an earlier fort established during the U.S.-Mexican War by Benjamin Leaton, a scalp hunter. Entry to the park’s heartlands is by permit only, available at either the Warnock Center or Fort Leaton. Bus tours into the interior, including a guide, scheduled stops, and a chuck wagon lunch, are also available ($30) by reservations. Key Birds: “Mexican Duck” (Mallard), Scaled Quail, Greater Roadrunner, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Verdin, Cactus and Rock Wrens, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Curve-billed and Crissal Thrashers, Phainopepla, Pyrrhuloxia, Canyon Towhee, Rufous-crowned and Blackthroated Sparrows, and Lesser Goldfinch are present year-round. Zone-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Elf Owl, Lesser and Common Nighthawks, Common Poorwill, Lucifer Hummingbird, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, Chihuahuan Raven, Bell’s Vireo, Lucy’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, Varied and Painted Buntings, Bronzed Cowbird, and Hooded and Scott’s Orioles occur in summer. Golden Eagle; Prairie Falcon; Anna’s Hummingbird; Dusky and Gray Flycatchers; Mountain Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; Townsend’s Warbler; Gray Vireo; Greentailed Towhee; Clay-colored, Brewer’s, and Sage Sparrows; and McCown’s and Chestnut-colored Longspurs can usually be found in winter. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information.© Copyright Roland H. Wauer & Mark A. Elwonger Published by Falcon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
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