Searching for the Longspurs – Stanley, NM

I have been searching for Longspurs since the early part of last winter when I heard they were spotted out on the west mesa of Albuquerque.  I don’t know how many times I drove all the way out there looking for them without luck.

I recently noticed there have been sightings on Feed Lot Road in Stanley, NM.  That’s definitely much closer to home.  So I headed out there yesterday morning to see if I could finally spot one.

Unfortuntely…I’m still on the hunt as I didn’t see any.  😦

But I still had a fun morning birding.  Of course, I can’t ever recall a time when I didn’t have fun birding!

I drove down Valley Irrigation Road but it was rather quiet until almost the end of the road where it connects with Dinkle Road.  I saw a Loggerhead Shrike and several Meadowlarks.

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Loggerhead Shrike

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Western Meadowlark

At the Otto Pond I did see lots of Red-winged Blackbirds.  I have tried many times to get a male posturing and singing with no luck.  But I finally got a great shot!

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

I then headed down King Road.  I remembered I had made a note to myself last fall to check a large nest in a lone tree among the rolling grass plains.  I figured it could be anything from a hawk to an owl to a raven.  As I was driving down King Road I saw a White-Crowned Sparrow singing away.  I also saw a neat old drilling rig and a pretty horse grazing.

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White-Crowned Sparrow

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Soon I saw the big nest ahead anxious to see what has taken residence this spring.  To my delight it is a pair of Ferruginous Hawks! One of the pair was sitting on eggs while the mate was soaring overhead.  The nest isn’t too far from the road and is pretty low to the ground so I was able to get some great pics.  Of course, I guess my constant staring with my zoom lens made her (?) nervous so she stood up in the nest.  Then decided she needed to fly out and land up in the tree.  I figured I had overstayed my welcome so moved on.  But I am going to be checking this nest often to hopefully get some pics of the babies.

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Ferruginous Hawk

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Ferruginous Hawk

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Ferruginous Hawk

Throughout the morning I saw lots and lots of Horned Lark.  I love their soft singing.

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Horned Lark

Heading home on Highway 41 I saw a herd of Antelope.  I always enjoy seeing them and can never resist photographing them.

DSC_8748 DSC_8749 DSC_8753And the last bird of the day was a Swainson’s Hawk.  A pair of them to be precise.  🙂

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