Late Winter Birding in TorC – Day 3

I woke up again bright and early… ready for another full day of birding.  Since I had pretty much birded the area out yesterday, I decided to head home first thing… with a stop at Bosque del Apache first of course.

I left well before sunrise.  As I was driving down the interstate I couldn’t help but notice the full moon setting.  It was just beautiful.  But by the time I found an exit (they are scare in this area) and changed my camera settings to capture a night shot, the moon had almost set.  I did manage to get a couple decent photos before it was gone.  I had hoped to have time to set my camera so that the moon would be in focus instead of just a ball of light.  Sadly I just didn’t have time.  I rarely shoot at night so the settings just aren’t automatic for me.  Now ask me settings for different lighting conditions to capture a bird, I’ve got those memorized!

When I arrived at the Bosque del Apache, I was very disappointed in the weather conditions.  When I left TorC it was calm and warm.  But when I got to the Bosque it was cold and extremely windy.  The ponds were all choppy and nothing was out feeding.  Big disappointment.  I drove the loop once, saw two more skunks! But mostly things were just very quiet.

I took a few photos of birds trying to feed during the windy morning conditions.  But it was so windy I had a difficult time taking photographs.  Either the bird was moving all over because of a swinging branch and/or I couldn’t hold my camera steady in the gusts of wind.




American Kestral


Red-Tailed Hawk


Red-Winged Blackbird

Since it was so quiet at the Bosque and the weather conditions just awful, I decided to head up to Bernardo and see what was happening there.  Of course, all the Sandhill Cranes were here.  I can’t understand why they prefer this location over the Bosque del Apache, but they do.  And surprisingly the wind had calmed down considerably in this area.



Sandhill Cranes


Western Meadowlarks


Since there was nothing new here, I drove further north and stopped at Los Lunas to see if I could find the Burrowing Owls that have returned for nesting.  Sadly, they were not showing themselves either.

So far, this day has been a bust!

So I headed yet further north and popped in to the Valle de Oro.  I usually always see lots here.  But nope! Another quiet location.  I did get a nice shot of a Horned Lark.


Horned Lark – female


So by now I’m back in Albuquerque.  It was only 1:30 which meant I still had plenty of time to bird.  So I took Joe’s instructions and decided to find a Great Horned Owl nest he told me about off Montano.  It was literally off the main road way up in a tree.  I couldn’t see the male, but she was fairly visible from the ground.


Great Horned Owl


I still wasn’t ready to call it a day.  So I decided to head over to the Rio Grande Nature Center.  There’s always activity there… right??!  Nope, this day was definitely the birds day off.

Just before getting into my car, I saw a couple of folks taking pictures of something in the parking lot.  My guess was a Roadrunner.  And I was right!  This guy was very tame.  I sat on the ground at the picnic tables and he came up to me looking for a handout.  I didn’t have anything to give him, but some other folks shared some tidbits.  I got several great photos of him.


Greater Roadrunner


Finally!  Something worth shooting! 🙂


Great Roadrunner – my favorite pic of the day!


So that concludes my late winter birding trip to TorC.  I had a blast.  Over the three days of birding, I saw/heard 76 different species of birds.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my birding weekend!   I’m ready to go again once spring migration starts!!!! After all….I still need that Vermillion Flycatcher photo!

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