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

Last time I wrote, I had left off around mid-day on my second day of birding near Truth or Consequences.  I had decided to eat my picnic lunch back at the Caballo Lake State Park where I had birded earlier that morning.  I was hopeful that there was still a lot of bird activity there even though it was later in the day.

I wasn’t disappointed! Upon arriving back at the park, I saw a pair Cinnamon Teal in the river. Yes! This was a duck I was really hoping to see.  Such a beautiful bird.


Cinnamon Teal


While walking along the river trying to get a decent photo of this duck before they decided they didn’t want me to photograph them, I saw lots of activity in the bushes.  There were lots of sparrows flitting around in the shade of the bushes.  It was a challenge getting some decent photos, but I had lots of fun trying.  I was surprised by the variety of sparrows in one small area.


Savannah Sparrow


Vesper Sparrow


Brewer’s Sparrow


Chipping Sparrow


White-Crowned Sparrow adult


White-Crowned Sparrow juvenile

Hanging out on a wire, I spied a Loggerhead Shrike.  I love seeing these birds.  I think they are so unique in how they have learned to hunt and save food.


Loggerhead Shrike


There were lots of Yellow-Rumped Warblers flitting among the trees.  They were so busy it was a challenge to get a photo.  But I managed to get a pic of a male Audubon variety.  I think they are very striking.


Yellow-Rumped Warbler


Taking another peek at the river I saw there was a Green-Winged Teal this time.  He was very skittish.


Green-Winged Teal


The day was getting on.  I wanted to visit Elephant Butte Lake while I was in the area. So I left Caballo Lake State Park and headed north.

On the road to the lake, I spotted a kingfisher hanging out on a wire above a creek flowing into the Rio Grande.  I had to stop on the bridge and take a quick pic.  Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic!


Belted Kingfisher – male


I wanted to bird below the Elephant Butte dam before I went to the lake.  I had never birded this area before but had heard it was a good location.  As soon as I parked and looked out the window, I saw several Pyrrhuloxia feeding on the ground right next to my car.  I was so excited! I love these birds but have been challenged in the past to get a good photo.  I was afraid to open the car door, fearing they would fly far away never to be seen again.  So I carefully eased open my car door, softly stepped out of my car, and slowly brought my camera up for a photo.  Snapped a few pics before they flew to a nearby tree.






I walked slowly to the tree and saw a male sitting sweetly on a branch.  Not a care in the world.  I realized I didn’t need to be so cautious.  These birds were obviously used to people in the park.  So I relaxed and enjoyed this moment.  He was happy to sit there and look at me while I photographed him.  I took a bunch of photos, then just stood there and watched this beautiful bird until he decided he wanted to go feed some more.  It was a fabulous moment!  And I was rewarded with some great photos.




Pyrrhuloxia – my favorite pic!



I walked the park looking for other birds, but it was fairly quiet.  Just before getting into my car, I saw a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet flitting among the trees.  He was calling and looked agitated about something.  Which was good for me because I got a photo of him clearly displaying his ruby crown.  These colorful feathers aren’t always displayed.


Ruby-Crowned Kinglet


From there I drove up to the lake.  I was hoping I would see some of those White Pelicans on the water, but they weren’t there.  I saw several Ring-Billed Gulls and Neotropic Cormorants.  Otherwise, the lake area was pretty quiet.


Ring-Billed Gull


Neotropic Cormorants


I decided to call it a day.  I was pretty tired.  I had been birding for almost 12 hours straight! But before leaving the lake, I took one landscape photo from a high vantage point.  The view was amazing.

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Elephant Butte Lake

As I headed back to TorC for a hot meal, hot soak and comfy bed, I had to stop as several deer crossed the road in front of me.  Just beautiful!


Mule Deer


When I got to the hotel, I saw the Curve-Billed Thrashers were out enjoying the late afternoon sun.  These birds are so used to people around that they didn’t mind my photographing them.  I thought to myself… next time I come I’m bringing a tripod.  I’d love to get some sharper images of these guys.


Curve-Billed Thrasher


Another great birding day.  One more day of birding ahead of me before I had to head home.  Stay tuned!





5 thoughts on “Late Winter Birding in TorC – Day 2 (Part 2)

  1. You have some stealth skills. I know that kingfisher – it doesn’t let me stop, let alone open the door or window to get a photo!! Same with the deer – I’m just happy not to collide with them. And of course, so many sparrows. I love your photos.

    • Thanks Donna! It can be challenging to get some photos. That’s funny you know which Kingfisher I’m talking about. As soon as I took one pic he took off chattering at me the whole way! Lol!

    • Thanks Joe! I know what you mean about seeing them at the Bosque. That’s been my past experience. So you know how thrilled I was to have one sit quietly not 3 feet away! Like he was posing for me! 🙂

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