The 115-mm objective module in Texas 2/3 – birding at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

October 20 2020


The 115-mm objective module in Texas 2/3 – birding at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Joel Simon and Clay Taylor went birding with the 115-mm objective module in the rocky desert areas near the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. Join them on their adventure told by Clay:


“It is a 10-hour drive from my home along the Texas Gulf Coast to the rocky desert areas near the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and the differences in birding are as great as the differences in habitat. The flat coastal plain composed of dense, caliche soils and Texas Thornscrub, broken up by the occasional river bottom and taller trees, is replaced with rocky outcroppings, cactus and drought-resistant plants, and birds that are scattered out over much wider areas.




Dawn arrives, and the bird songs ensue. The singers are scattered across the landscape, and given the sparseness of the available bushes and plants, the birds are remarkably hard to spot. We are forced to use the binoculars to scan the distance, looking for movement, and then use the 115-mm objective module with the ATX to identify what we have found. A distant Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) singing, then a Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) slinking off amongst the rocks and brush are good views.




Finally, a nearby Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) works its way up to a perch and starts to sing. I quickly attach the camera to the ATX 115 and get some photos before the bird finishes its song and drops back down into the thicket.




Scanning the hills at the foot of El Capitan, the 10th-highest peak in Texas, Joel sees Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), a Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) and a few Northern Ravens (Corvus corax), but no luck at finding the always-elusive Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Still, watching the aerial acrobatics of the Ravens makes up for not seeing an eagle.”




About Joel Simon

Joel Simon works as the watch coordinator and official observer at the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch at Hazel Bazemore Park. Today a renowned author and frequent speaker about raptors, he has also worked as a tour leader, an eco-tourism consultant, and a field biologist.




About Clay Taylor

Clay Taylor became a birder in the mid-1970s, both watching and photographing birds in the Northeastern United States. Today, 45 years later, he still enjoys observing and capturing birdlife. As Senior Manager of the Naturalist Market at SWAROVSKI OPTIK North America, he brings people closer to nature.

Join him on his birding trips to Hazel Bazemore Park or the Texas Gulf Coast.




“My photographs through the 115-mm objective module will have 20% more resolution than through the 95 - need I say anything more?” – Clay Taylor


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