I woke up very early the next morning. I was too excited to sleep 🙂
I knew I wouldn’t be meeting my fellow birders for a few hours so I decided to find an area called the Palomas Marsh. I had noticed several sightings of birds in this area that I’d like to see, specifically the Cinnamon Teal.
As I meandered the roads along farming country, I was greeted by a very friendly billy goat.
Well, either I didn’t find the marsh, or it’s really not a marsh after all. It was basically a spot along the Rio Grande River that had a huge sand bar and a few cattails. It’s located next to a huge farming area so there were few trees about. I ended up birding along the river next to a field that had been burned of weeds recently.
There was a large flock of birds feeding in this burnt field. I tried for quite awhile to get a photo of these birds to find out what they were. It wasn’t until I was heading back to my car that a few landed near enough to get a half decent pic. I realized it was a flock of American Pipits.
While perusing the water, two White Pelicans flew right over me. I’m always surprised at seeing pelicans in the desert.
All I could see in the water was a bunch of Mallards and one Pied-Billed Grebe. So I decided to head over to Caballo Lake State Park. There’s a great spot to bird along the river just below Caballo Dam.
As I was driving back through the farming community, I saw this grackle singing away. I think they are pretty birds with the iridescent black feathers.
When I reached the park at Caballo Lake, I was greeted by beautiful birdsong all around me. I had to smile big at this 🙂
I saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers hanging out below the dam. First time I’ve seen this species this year.
As I drove through the park I was thrilled to see a male Phainopepla. I love these birds! And nearby was a female. Both were at the tops of trees and I had a difficult time getting a decent photo. Only the male’s photo was worth sharing.
I heard a Northern Mockingbird but try as I might I never saw him. Too bad, fun birds to watch sing.
I heard an interesting song in the trees along the river. I usually bird by ear, and I knew this one was different. After hunting for a while, I finally got a photo of the singing bird. To my surprise, it was a Bewick’s Wren. It didn’t sound like any of the Bewick’s Wrens I have at home.
While birding around the park I got a call from the birders I was supposed to meet up with over at Percha Dam State Park. So I headed over there hoping there would be more activity in this location than the night before.
Upon arriving at Percha Dam, I was greeted by about 20 Phainopeplas singing in the trees at the park entrance. They were way up high and flying about, so it was impossible to get a photo.
I met up with the group and we started birding along the river heading south. By the time I met up with them it was about 10 am. So a lot of the birding activity had slowed way down. It was warming up quick and would be a hot 80 degrees before days end.
In the bushes I spotted a Lincoln’s Sparrow. I don’t see these birds very often.
There was a Ladderback Woodpecker busy in the dead cottonwoods.
Just before leaving the park, I spotted a female Phainopepla right at eye level. I was thrilled. Got a pretty decent pic, considering she was among lots of small branches giving off lots of shadows.
I decided to leave the group at this time and do my own thing. They were moving pretty slow and I was feeling lots of birding energy yet in my bones!
I decided to head back over to Caballo Lake State Park. There was a lot more bird activity over there.
To be continued……..
8 thoughts on “Late Winter Birding in TorC – Day 2 (Part 1)”
What a handsome guy this Phainopepla. Yet again, my compliments on the excellent photos!
Thank you Panhirsch!
Great photos. Your Lincoln’s Sparrow made me realize I just sort of lump all those birds together. I need to look more closely. You see an amazing variety of birds on your walks.
Thanks Donna! It’s amazing how many varieties of little brown birds there really are. And I love the variety we have in New Mexico.
Great pic of the Phainopepla. Those and Road Runners are on my list to see when I get out in your area again. Always enjoy your travels and pics. Cheers
Thanks Ed! I love the roadrunners. I have a great pic of one coming up in a future post. And the Phainopepla are just really cool birds. You gotta get back here for a birding trip! 🙂
Lovely gallery of birds! My favorite was the Phainopepla.
Thanks Tiny! Was my favorite too!