Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Balmorhea State Park, TX

My plan had been to stay 3 days including Christmas here, but the approaching blizzard made me decide on a one-night stop and then hightail it to western New Mexico before the storm hit. Turned out to be a good decision. 
But I did enjoy one nice afternoon here.
Really nice campground with pull-through sites, water and electric hook-ups and cable TV! You don't see cable TV in very many State Parks.
No real hiking trails here, but there are water features and lots of birds.
For thousands of years San Solomon Springs made this area a desert oasis. The springs were named by the first settlers, Mexican farmers who used the water to irrigate crops.
Today, the San Solomon Cienega is a 3-acre wetlands restoration area that is used as a refuge for aquatic life.
It serves as a home for the endangered fish, as well as other aquatic and amphibian life and many bird species.
Some of the species found here.

I saw lots of American Coots.
This is probably a Red-eared Slider.
This is an under-water viewing area, but the glass panels were too dirty or covered with algae to see through.
Green Heron
Pied-billed Grebe
An "unofficial"trail around the Cienega.
In 1851, the first canals were built to facilitate large-scale irrigation. The Bureau of Reclamation dredged the springs in 1927 and constructed the main canal which remains in use today.
Coots gather by the canal on the left.
The CCC built the V-shaped swimming pool, which was formed with a 200' circle over the spring and lined with limestone.
A Lesser Scaup and a couple of Coots were the only ones swimming.
There is another wetland area near the park entrance.
This is a Scaup resting on the bank.
Scaup, Coot, and Gadwall, I think.
Gadwall and Scaup.
Rare Headwater Catfish are found in the canal. 
Headwater Catfish 
That's all there was time for. In the morning I got an early start to get as far as Deming, NM, where we spent Christmas and waited out the blizzard. 
RV friend, Anita, also caught up with me there.
Christmas moon:
Christmas dog: 
The blizzard blew through dumping only about an inch of snow in Deming, but eastern NM and western Texas got hammered.
Thistle and I played in the snow for a couple of days. 

And when it was safe, Anita and I got back on the road to Arizona, but that's another post.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures as always but I especially love the Christmas one with the tree and Thistle.


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