Monday, March 28, 2011

Bighorns and fish wranglers!

Desert bighorn sheep on top of Elephant Mountain, West Texas
Copyright (c) 2010 Wendee Holtcamp

I have much more to blog (or do I?) but yikes it's 253am, and I have to go to bed. I've been pulling late-nighters, working on a big piece for the 10th annual Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW) Magazine Water issue. I'm so blessed to be a part of it, year after year.

But, I wanted to post links to my latest articles, both in the April issue of TPW Magazine!

Regal Return: Desert bighorn sheep are being restored to the mountains of West Texas.

Against a magenta sunrise, the winter solstice moon — full and white — sinks into the western horizon. Several dozen folks stand bundled up at the base of Elephant Mountain, a flat-topped 6,225-foot monolith rising more than 2,000 feet above the Chihuahuan Desert. Witness to the glorious dawn on the solstice, a day historically celebrating rebirth and a return to light, I can feel the collective anticipation of the events soon to unfold.
On all accounts both practical and symbolic, it seemed the perfect day for returning desert bighorn sheep to the Bofecillos Mountains of Big Bend Ranch State Park on the Texas-Mexico border, where they had been absent for the past half-century.

The Fish Wrangler: Biologist Clark Hubbs devoted his life to cataloging and protecting the state’s fish species.

On a January morning 24 years ago, 65-year-old Clark Hubbs, a University of Texas biology professor, was up to his usual business. Streamside to a Frio River tributary in the Hill Country, he was ready to sample several species of small fish such as mosquitofish, darters and minnows, with his doctoral student, Kirk Winemiller.

“Clark was in the habit of starting his day at 4 a.m., so each morning we arrived at the first field site just before sunup,” Wine-miller recalls. “We discovered a thin rim of ice along the shoreline, and I asked Clark for the whereabouts of the hip wader boots in the truck. He replied, ‘This is Texas — we don’t need hip waders!’”

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