Late Winter Birding in TorC – Day 2 (Part 1)

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.

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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.

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Turtle Mountain on the Left.  Burned field in the foreground.

 

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.

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American Pipit

 

While perusing the water, two White Pelicans flew right over me.  I’m always surprised at seeing pelicans in the desert.

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White Pelican

 

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.

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Great-Tailed Grackle

 

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.

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Male and Female Hooded Mergansers

 

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.

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Male Phainopepla

 

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.

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Bewick’s Wren

 

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.

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Lincoln’s Sparrow

 

There was a Ladderback Woodpecker busy in the dead cottonwoods.

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Ladderback Woodpecker

 

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.

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Female Phainopepla

 

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)

    • 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! 🙂

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