Shore birds in a Canyon??

Long-billed dowitcher CCSP

Caprock Canyon State Park is now likely best known as the home of the Texas State bison herd, which now roams amoung the guests.  I guess you could say the guests roams among the bison but given the size and strength of these magnificant animals, they pretty much have the right of way.  Melissa Sabin and I visited the park on the weekend of 20 April and had a wonderful visit.  We can’t wait to go back.  I will post video of the bison as soon as I can get it edited.  But we saw much more wildlife and were surprised by the number of shore birds we encountered.  We ended up on the edge of a pond, well before before sunrise.  It’s a bit tricky trying to determine where to place a blind in the dark and unfortunately, the muddy fringe of the pond kept us at some distance.  But we had great light and birds that cooperated for the most part.  On the pond were blue-winged teal, American avocets, long-billed dowitchers, and Wilson’s phalaropes.  I enjoyed just watching these birds from the cover of the blind.  Melissa, as is her habit, was fast asleep behind me in the blind.  The bird above is a long-billed dowitcher and below is the magnificent American avocet.  Note the differences in bill size and shape.  This allows the birds access to different food sources and reduces competition.  Yet another great day in the field – and the blind.  Go see Caprock Canyons State Park, the scenery and wildlife are remarkable.  If you don’t see the bison at first, drive or hike and while and come back to the bison area.  When we were there they dissapeared on occasion but always returned.  They also seemed to like to drink from Lake Theo in the late evening.

American avocet