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"I'm an Old Cowhand, (From the Rio Grande)"

Some of you may remember Bing Crosby, singing that song, which was written by Johnny Mercer for the Paramount Pictures movie, Rhythm on the Range, made in 1936. The connection here is the river dividing the U.S. and Mexico in an awesomely beautiful way in this particular part of West Texas.

I got the best of Big Bend National Park that I could accomplish in one day, driving over 150 miles (it's a large park!), and stopping at most of the recommended tourist points along the route. Included in this journey were the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena Canyon and Castolon, Chisos Basin, Rio Grande Village, and Dugout Wells.

While my original purpose in this part of the trip (I thought) was to capture birds, particularly of the migrating variety, there really wasn't much to see. Most migration had been completed for the area. However, that disappointment was easily overcome by the geological drama of the surrounding land and beauty of the Spring flora in evidence everywhere. This kept me busy with both cameras! Of the few avians I did shoot, there was one Roadrunner, a pair of Ravens, and a Vermillion Flycatcher actually in the process of catching a fly!

The huge line of mountains you see above is the Sierra Maderas del Carmen, which is in Mexico and immediately across the Rio Grande. There was much spectacular scenery in these and the canyons everywhere around the park, including the Santa Elena Canyon which you will see below in the gallery. For color, I got shots of blooms on Prickly Pear and Strawberry Pitaya cacti, as well as some beautiful tubular blooms on the Ocotillo, and the grand standing Torrey Yucca. And all along the roadways in Texas, the beautiful Yellowbells are everywhere (hard to shoot while driving)! Looking at the flowers, be sure to click to expand the Prickly Pear bloom to show its surprise visitor. The shot of the night sky at the end was taken from my front porch at the Ten Bit Ranch in Terlingua, a place I intend to revisit for a future mission.

As always, I hope you enjoy viewing my images and feel free to stay in touch with commentary, criticism, and conversation.



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