National Park #25: Big Bend, Day 6

Previous Day

We had one last stop before heading back to Midland-Odessa, the Christmas Mountain Oasis. (J)  The story behind this spot is simple but, remarkable.  A woman bought a piece of land in Texas, built a reservoir pond to hold water, and then built a planted area to host wildlife, specifically, birds.  And it worked.  The Christmas Mountain Oasis is now the go-to spot for Lucifer Hummingbirds.  Getting here was quite an adventure, as well.  The route involved hand-drawn maps obtained from a local ranch, combinations to locked gates, and a test of the full range of our rental car’s suspension.  I only wished that we had as much time to spend here as it took to find it.  Almost immediately after pulling in, we spotted numerous Lucifer, as well as Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  While exploring a bit on our own, I finally spotted an animal we’ve read plenty about but still eluded us, a Javelina!  They really do just look like medium-sized black pigs. While this one went about its business,  I ran over to Aly yelling, “Javelina! Javelina!” (which is a lot of fun to yell) She finally ran over to where I was but, a moment too late.  The little pig had disappeared.  Disappointed but, also motivated by my spotting of a snake, Aly retreated to a chair near the hummingbird feeders.  We birded for about an hour and then figured we should call this trip a success and head to the airport.

ATFL_150528 - 002

Ash-throated Flycatcher

LUHU_150528 - 003

Lucifer Hummingbird

In the end, Big Bend is an incredible place. There were times when we were going from place to place that we remarked that we hadn’t felt this remote since we were in Alaska.  While we found ways to cope with the heat, we would have preferred to do this trip in the early spring.  The high density of wildlife was very noticeable compared to many other parks, I could only imagine what this place is like during peak migration.  But, we had a blast and, as written by the champion of the Chisos, enjoying yourself is victorious:

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” – Edward Abbey

25 stamps in the book,

halfway done is within our sight.

Big Bend NP

Click for full Big Bend NP album

My eBird checklists:


Christmas Mountain Oasis


  1. Shannon · October 3, 2015

    The Chisos are magical. The locals there know it, but most Texans have no idea what a gem it is, sitting right there in the backyard. Great captures on the birds in this post, but I really enjoyed the album! There are so many, many more gorgeous shots there, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carl · October 5, 2015

      Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed the photos!

      Liked by 1 person

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