Coming up: Birds and Butterflies in West Texas

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes:  In a few weeks, we're going to be in very different surroundings: the rugged, beautiful, fascinating Trans-Pecos region of Texas.  Specifically, we'll be in Marathon, Texas, taking part in the first "Birds and Butterflies" event there, July 19-22, 2012. 

Here's a poster for the event that we grabbed off the internet ... it looks better at full size.

Our friends Heidi Trudell and Matt York, superb naturalists who are now based in the Marathon area, helped to get us involved.  They introduced us to the management of the historic Gage Hotel, which is hosting the event.  There will be field trips focusing on both birds and butterflies, social evening, hummingbird banding demonstrations with Kelly Bryan, the nature artwork of Gerald Sneed, and other attractions. I'll be giving a keynote talk on the 21st.

Kimberly and I are looking forward to some fabulous birding. That region of Texas has a fascinating mix of western and southern birds, including Swainson's Hawk, Scaled Quail, Wild Turkey, Cassin's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Pyrrhuloxia, Bronzed Cowbird, Cassin's Sparrow, and Painted Bunting ... to name a few!

Male Vermilion Flycatcher perched atop a mesquite
 There also should be some neat butterflies around, although it's a little harder to predict which ones.  They could include Mexican Yellows, Theona Checkerspots, Desert Checkered-Skippers, Empress Leilias ... even the names are cool!

Another attraction of Marathon is the Gage Hotel itself, with its rich history, and the beautiful Gage Gardens.  You can read more about them here: 

Of course, that region of western Texas also has remarkable plants, moths, reptiles, etc., and we're looking forward to seeing wonderful wildlife and to reconnecting with friends!  If you're looking for an intriguing new experience for July, we urge you to check this out; more information can be found at this link.  We hope to see you there!


  1. Thanks for sharing this information. It is nice to join in the event like this. This is showing the love of nature. How can we take care of them and the latest discoveries.

  2. do you have any advice for attracting finches? Last year we had 6 around our finch feeder filled with thistles and this year I see them flying around our oak tree but not taking advantage of our feeders. I am knew to birdwatching but have been gaining interest with how much they inspire my posts on my blog. Thanks for any advice you could send my way.

  3. Dear Inkspiring,

    Often times in summer -- when much natural food is available -- birds won't be as active at bird feeders.

    Something else to consider is that, now and then, we find that the seeds we've purchased are stale and the birds just won't eat them. You might try buying a bag of fresh seed and putting it out in a separate feeder to see if that might help. Don't throw the old seed out until you see if the birds will eat the new stuff!

    Hope this helps! Thanks for reading our blog.

    kimm & kenn


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