Since returning from Truth or Consequences, I’ve been going out most every day enjoying the extremely mild weather. It has been absolutely gorgeous these past few weeks.
My friend Joe has been telling me about all of his owl sightings. So, of course, I just had to go find them for myself. It’s so exciting to see an owl!
After seeing the Great Horned Owl off of Montano, I decided to see if I could find the others. I did find the one at Calabacillas Arroyo, but she’s way down in the nest and all you see is the tip of her tail sticking up. The eggs take about a month to hatch. So I’m expecting to see some babies by the end of this month.
Next up is the Great Horned Owl at the Rio Grande Nature Center. They’ve nested a little further south from last year’s location. Higher up in a tree too….grrrr! Makes it harder to get photos! LOL!
So Scarlett and I headed to the river and hiked the beautiful bosque. I hadn’t been on this section of trail before, so it was nice to see new scenery along the river. There were lots of Western Bluebirds out feeding in the clear areas. I never can resist photographing them.
Lots of Northern Flickers about too. Such beautiful birds.
I finally made it to the Great Horned Owl nest. There was a breeze blowing and she was snoozing away in the swaying tree. If you look closely though, she did crack one eye at me.
I was determined to find the male. I was surprised to find him directly above me on the trail. They really don’t seem to mind nesting next to human paths. I wonder if it’s intentional??
While I was viewing the owls, little Miss Scarlett snuck off and dove into the river for some fun. She was really enjoying running in the shallow water. I could barely see her through the brush. I let her play awhile before calling her back to head home. We still had 2 miles to walk to get back to the car! 🙂
Once back at the Rio Grande Nature Center, I took a little time to see what might be about. The feeders usually draw birds all day long. So even though it was around noon, there was still some good bird activity.
I’m always amazed at how creative and crafty squirrels can be. This one has figured out how to use its tail to hold itself up so it can reach across to the feeder.
Though the clouds were starting to thicken, the turtles were still determined to sun themselves. I always wonder how many turtles are in that pond. Some days you can look at every stick and shore and they are covered in turtles sunning.
The next day I met up with Joe to try and find that Northern Pygmy Owl in the Sandias. We hiked in with high hopes. Sadly, no owl again this time. Drat! I tried again a couple days later with still no luck. But there was lots of other bird activity. I even heard and briefly saw the Gray Catbird that has been reported in the area. I tried to get a photo, but he was there then gone. He will be on my list next time I make that hike.
Scarlett had fun on the hike. She played in the creek and any patch of snow she could find. She makes me smile 🙂
Next stop was the Western Screech Owl at Elena Gallegos Park. I followed Joe’s directions and found the location where it’s been sighted. I didn’t see it and figured it found a different roosting spot. But then I looked in one more place and there he was! I’m sure he knew I was there the whole time. I clicked a photo and then poof! He was gone. They fly so silently. He had moved over to a different spot. I hiked around to get a better shot and then left quickly so as not to disturb him further.
Since I wasn’t too far away from the Academy School, I thought I would go over there next to find the Great Horned Owl nest there. And thanks to Joe’s excellent instructions, I found the nest fairly quick. She was tucked deep inside the fork of a giant Ponderosa Pine. Fortunately the landscape slopes upward from this tree, so I was able to get a good vantage point to photograph her in the nest. Again, one eye cracked to keep an eye on me. 🙂
I looked around further in the tree and found the male sitting higher up enjoying the shade of the pine needles. He was sound asleep when I first spotted him. But a gust of wind came through and really shook the tree. That woke him up. Then he was on high alert when he spotted Scarlett lying on the ground below him. He’s used to students walking under his tree all day every day. But a dog is a different story!
Heading home after a good day of owl hunting, I saw my neighborhood Red-Tailed Hawk was out looking for an afternoon snack. And also an American Kestrel. I always love seeing the birds of prey. Just gorgeous! And a wonderful way to end a greet week of birding.
I understand next week the weather is supposed to turn cold and wet again. 😦 Hopefully it won’t last long so Scarlett and I can get back on the trails!