Big Bend National Park, Cibolo Creek & the Davis Mountains: Aug 24—Sep 02, 2017

A Special Departure for BirdNote

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: El Paso
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (138.4 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Sallie Bodie

Sallie Bodie is Managing Director of BirdNote. Since 2007, she has helped the organization g...


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 69 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have t...


Kitty Coley

Kitty Coley is a geologist, naturalist, and avid birder who has led natural history tours fo...

More Information


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Majestic Big Bend National Park is the centerpiece of a West Texas getaway featuring outstanding birding and natural history during late summer.

The Trans-Pecos region of West Texas is a land of big vistas and bold landscapes. Lightly populated and wildlife-rich, this region is rife with outstanding natural areas encompassing high deserts, grasslands, and “sky island” mountain ranges. For this special departure, arranged exclusively for supporters and listeners of BirdNote, participants will experience the joys of a birding and natural history vacation in West Texas, centering on beautiful Big Bend National Park. Listen to BirdNote stories about Big Bend National Park.

A final shot of one of the male Montezuma Quail. A fitting finale for our successful tour!

Montezuma Quail — Photo: Barry Zimmer


This trip will be hosted by Sallie Bodie, BirdNote Managing Director, and guided by Victor Emanuel and Kitty Coley of Austin, Texas-based Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. Together they will provide exposure to the beauty and wildlife of West Texas and the Big Bend region.

Late summer is an excellent time to visit the scenic Big Bend country, when monsoon rains have a cooling effect, fewer people are in the park, and birds abound. The scenery alone would justify a trip here, but the park’s specialty birds are the primary draw for many. In fact, more types of birds have been found in Big Bend than in any other national park. Species of interest include Zone-tailed Hawk, the tiny Elf Owl, Blue-throated Hummingbird, the localized Gray Vireo, plum-colored Varied Buntings, and the uncommon Black-chinned Sparrow. Although our visit will take place later in the season, we may still have a chance to see another of the park’s prized species: Lucifer Hummingbird, a stunning bird found only at a few locations in the southwestern United States. Meanwhile, the national park lodge sits in a mountain-ringed “Basin,” an ancient caldera surrounded by towering walls of orange-hued rock.

After arriving in Big Bend National Park and settling into our rooms, a wonderful sunset in The Window provided a fitting end to our great day.

Sunset in The Window — Photo: Barry Zimmer


En route to Big Bend we will spend two nights at the luxurious Cibolo Creek Ranch near Marfa, Texas, one of the finest and “birdiest” guest lodges in North America. The trip will conclude with two nights in the Davis Mountains, a “sky island” ecosystem home to a variety of habitats and birds we will not have previously seen including Common Black-Hawk and the highly-prized Montezuma Quail.

While birds will be of greatest interest to many, this program also emphasizes general natural history including geology, mammal watching, botany, and stargazing. The mammal viewing, in particular, can be surprisingly good, with chances for Coyote, Gray Fox, Bobcat, Collared Peccary, Pronghorn, Mule Deer, and others. There will also be opportunities to enjoy local culture including an optional side trip to Marfa, a famous arts destination. For those inclined, wine and cheese with poetry can be arranged before dinner.

Accommodations and meals good to excellent; flat to mountainous terrain; physical demands light except for two optional fairly strenuous and lengthy hikes with elevational gains; warm to hot climate.