Lake Rita Blanca State Park, Cactus Lake, and Rita Blanca National Grassland

Dalhart, Texas

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Lake Rita Blanca (at the time of this writing under development as a state park) was once part of the XIT Ranch, the world’s largest (3,050,000 acres) under fence in the 1880s. The area contains 35 separate units, divided by private ranchlands. FM 296 and 1879 are paved, but the majority of the roads are unpaved, and care must be used during rainy weather. Key Birds: Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Ring-necked Pheasant, Scaled Quail, Greater Roadrunner, and Chihuahuan Raven are present year-round. Mississippi Kite, Swainson’s Hawk, Mountain Plover, Long-billed Curlew, Burrowing Owl, Say’s Phoebe, Cassin’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, Lark Bunting, and Yellow-headed Blackbird occur in summer. Hooded and Common Mergansers; Bald Eagle; Rough-legged Hawk; Prairie Falcon; Long-eared Owl; Mountain Bluebird; Northern Shrike; American Tree, Fox, and Harris’s Sparrows; and McCown’s, Lapland, and Chestnut-collared Longspurs can usually be found in winter. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information.
Birding Texas

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Birding Texas

by Roland H. Wauer & Mark A. Elwonger (Falcon Guides)

Lake Rita Blanca (at the time of this writing under development as a state park) was once part of the XIT Ranch, the world’s largest (3,050,000 acres) under fence in the 1880s. The area contains 35 separate units, divided by private ranchlands. FM 296 and 1879 are paved, but the majority of the roads are unpaved, and care must be used during rainy weather.

Key Birds: Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Ring-necked Pheasant, Scaled Quail, Greater Roadrunner, and Chihuahuan Raven are present year-round. Mississippi Kite, Swainson’s Hawk, Mountain Plover, Long-billed Curlew, Burrowing Owl, Say’s Phoebe, Cassin’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, Lark Bunting, and Yellow-headed Blackbird occur in summer. Hooded and Common Mergansers; Bald Eagle; Rough-legged Hawk; Prairie Falcon; Long-eared Owl; Mountain Bluebird; Northern Shrike; American Tree, Fox, and Harris’s Sparrows; and McCown’s, Lapland, and Chestnut-collared Longspurs can usually be found in winter. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information.

©  Roland H. Wauer & Mark A. Elwonger/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Dalhart
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best May and June for prairie nesters and December to mid-February for winter birds
Local Contacts: Lake Rita Blanca State Park;
Local Maps: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Driving Directions: Directions to Lake Rita Blanca State Park, Cactus Lake, & Rita Blanca National Grassland

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May 2018