Thursday Birders – Alameda Open Space

I was able to meet up with the Thursday Birders again. I had to work until 11 the night before but it was worth it. Such a beautiful day with good company and birds.

We met up at the Alameda Open Space which has a pond, an irrigation ditch that runs year round, trails along the Bosque and access to the Rio Grande river. It makes for a chance to see a wide variety of birds.

We started our walk at the pond but nothing of interest there. Just a bunch of Mallards.  So next we started walking along the irrigation ditch. Right away someone spots a Wilson’s Snipe. I saw it fly but lost it as soon as it landed. Thanks to Joe’s patience in showing me where he was, I finally was able to get a photo. Those birds can be completely camouflaged on just bare mud!

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Wilson's Snipe

As we made our way along the ditch the birds were pretty quiet. Which has been the case for a couple weeks now. Someone spotted a pair of Northern Flickers. I think they are so beautiful.

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Northern Flicker

Soon after we came upon a tree loaded with American Goldfinches with a few Pine Siskins mixed in.  Tough to get a photo as they were way up in the top of the tree among all the tiny limbs. But at times they would fly down for a drink in the ditch.  Not a great photo as they were in the shade at quite a distance.

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American Goldfinch with Pine Siskin behind him

We also saw a Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe, House Finches, White-Crowned Sparrows, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and Robins in this area.

We then moved into the Bosque. Pretty quiet in there. I heard a Bewick Wren. Lots of Juncos. Sadly no hawks, owls or the elusive Bald Eagle.

I did get a good photo of Scarlett on a log. She was so reluctant before to climb up on things. But now she loves it.

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Miss Scarlett

There’s one spot along this Bosque trail that has a neat path down to the river’s edge. I got a photo of Lefty at the end of this trail and I couldn’t resist a selfie 🙂

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Lefty

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Kelly

We made it to the river access last at the pump station next to Alameda.  The Ring-Billed Gulls like to hang out on the sandbars here. Along with them were lots of Mallards, a few Common Mergansers, Cackling and Canada Geese, a Pied-Billed Grebe and a few White-Fronted Geese. All the birds were at quite a distance so photos aren’t great. As usual, whenever I’ve seen the Common Merganser I can’t get a good photo. Someday I will.

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Greater White-Fronted Geese

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Ring-Billed Gull

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Common Merganser

We headed back to the parking lot. As we crossed a foot bridge over the ditch we saw some Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets feeding at the water’s edge. They were really close for good photo ops.

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Then Joe pointed out a Red-Tailed Hawk way up on the telephone pole. As I got ready to photograph him, I saw the crows badgering him to go away.

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Red-Tailed Hawk with an American Crow harassing him

Meanwhile the pigeons were oblivious to the danger. I watched a male dance on the power line to a potential girlfriend 🙂

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Rock Pigeon

After lunch I decided to stop in at the Rio Grande Nature Center. I hadn’t been there for awhile.

There was a female Common Merganser at the main pond. But once again she was at the furthest point away from me. So still no good photo.

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Common Merganser female

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Pied-Billed Grebe

There was some decent activity at the feeders.

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White-Crowned Sparrow

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House Finch

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Red-Winged Blackbird

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Downy Woodpecker

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White-Breasted Nuthatch

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Bushtit

And I finally got a good photo of a Chickadee! I was just telling Joe that morning that I can never get a good photo of those birds :). But this day I got 2!

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Black-Capped Chickadee

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Black-Capped Chickadee - this photo is my favorite

I heard some rustling in a huge cactus. When I peeked in, a big yellow eye looked back at me!

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Curve-Billed Thrasher

At the main viewing pond there were lots of Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls and Wood Ducks.

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Northern Shoveler

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Gadwall

I had hoped to see the Cinnamon Teal that has been seen there. But no luck this day.

I stopped by our office in Cedar Crest before heading home. And to my delight there were Western Bluebirds hanging out in the parking lot. I just had to get some photos.

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Western Bluebird

I was so excited when he flew and landed even closer to me. I was able to get one photo before he flew off again.

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Western Bluebird

What a fabulous way to end a great birding day!

4 thoughts on “Thursday Birders – Alameda Open Space

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