Sunday, July 3, 2011

El Paso Day 3: UTEP Campus

Western Kingbird, UTEP Campus, El Paso, TX
The University of Texas El Paso maintains a lovely campus (and a large staff of early morning leaf-blowing maintenance workers). I was able to squeeze a little birding in before morning conference activities, mostly to see if I could get good looks at local garden-type birds.

Make no mistake, even though it is not pictured here--the dominant bird at UTEP is the great-tailed grackle, our Costa Rican friend. I am still astonished at the variety of (loud) noises that bird is capable of.

The best place on campus for close-up views of verdin and black-chinned hummingbirds is the little Chihuahuan Desert Gardens area surrounding the Centennial Museum.
Black-chinned hummingbird female, UTEP Campus, El Paso, TX
Verdin can be seen very regularly in the shady drip fountain area drinking droplets from the ceiling.
Verdin, UTEP Campus, El Paso, TX
The most surprising discovery was a pair of local thrashers (I'm going to call them curve-billed, though my ID is not 100%) that emerged from some hillside brush into the morning sunlight.
Curve-billed Thrasher, UTEP Campus, El Paso, TX
Curve-billed Thrasher, UTEP Campus, El Paso, TX
It is not a paradise for birds on the UTEP Campus, unfortunately. (Apparently) feral house-cats roam the grounds. I saw a few of them actively stalking birdlife.

Roadrunner? Maybe next time.

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