A variety of birds in a variety of places

The last week or so I’ve been out birding when I can. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous. Very warm and sunny. It feels like spring…not February!

Last week we had to go back to Las Vegas, NM, for work. It was way nicer weather than the week prior. I got to bird for only short time as it was a busy work day. The birds were very quiet. But I got to enjoy watching a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks being playful.

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Red-Tailed Hawks

I visited Corrales last week for a long walk. Again, the birds were quiet. But I saw another Red-Tailed Hawk sitting nicely across the ditch from me.  I thought his breast feathers looked really red.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

Then last Friday I had the morning unexpectedly available. So I got up early to bird. I went to Tingly Beach and the duck ponds. It was a great birding day.  I saw 34 species that day. I love days like that!

Here’s some of my better shots.

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Not often you see crows and ravens together. You can really see the size difference.

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Lesser Scaup female

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Canvasback

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Mute Swan

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Rock Pigeon - i liked the coloring of this one

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Pied-Billed Grebe in front of a Mallard

After walking the ponds, I wasn’t ready to go home. It was such a beautiful day. Scarlett wasn’t ready to stop hiking either.

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Miss Scarlett

So I decided to head over to Los Poblanos open space. See if I could find the nesting Western Screech Owls.

I saw 3 roadrunners at once busily looking for food. And an American Kestral hunting nearby.

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Greater Roadrunner

Sandhill Cranes were also feeding close by.

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Sandhill Cranes

Then I came upon a nesting box and was thrilled to see an owl occupied it. 

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Western Screech Owl

I wouldn’t get out for almost a week. But I finally got to go today. Joe Schelling met up with me this morning to help me look for the Northern Pygmy Owl seen at the Cienega picnic ground. The gates are closed go the picnic grounds until May on the east side of the Sandias. So we had a two-mile round trip hike to find this bird.

While hiking we saw lots of American Robins, Northern Flickers, Townsend Solitaires, and Mountain Chickadees. Most of them were high up in the trees making for difficult photography.

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American Robin

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Northern Flicker

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Townsend Solitaire

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Red-Breasted Nuthatch

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Mountain Chickadee

Scarlett had a blast running around in the snow. Just loving the chance to stretch her legs.

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Sadly no Pygmy Owl for me today.  While we hunted for the Owl we talked about our other sightings recently.  He told me about some Barn Owls he’d seen at Los Poblanos. Of course, I just had to find them!

Before leaving the mountain, we decided to head to the Crest to see if there were any rosy finches about. I saw a Brown-Capped Rosy Finch but it flew away before I could get a pic. But a Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch stuck around long enough.

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Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch

We didn’t see the large flock that usually swoops in. Ah well…

Heading to town later on I decided to stop at Tingly Beach where Joe mentioned seeing a Western Screech Owl.  No Owl but I saw a porcupine sleeping in a tree very low to the ground. I could have reached out and touched him.  Zoom in on the photo and you can see his orange teeth.

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Next I drove to Los Poblanos, followed Joe’s directions, and sure enough there was a Barn Owl roosting right where he described. I was thrilled! This was the first time I’d ever seen one. It made up for not seeing the Pygmy Owl. Well…..mostly… Lol!

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Barn Owl

That brings my life list up to 348 seen and photographed birds!

While I was at Los Poblanos I saw this adorable Guinea singing to its reflection in the window.

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Guinea Fowl

Heading back home I saw lots of Bluebirds about. All three variety – Western, Eastern and Mountain. I love seeing Bluebirds. They make me smile.

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Western Bluebird

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These two male Mountain Bluebirds were fighting over a female

It was a wonderful day/ week. Looking forward to when I can get out again and enjoy this amazing spring-like weather.

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