A Successful Week of Birding

Last week I visited several areas around town hoping to see some new arrivals for 2016.  The weather has been so nice, I figure migratory birds should be trickling in about now.  My first stop was at the Valle de Oro.  I had heard that Lucy’s Warblers had been sighted there recently.  I had looked for them last year without any luck.

I started the slow drive through the refuge, and my first sighting of the day was a Swainson’s Hawk enjoying the early morning sun.  Of course, he was between me and the sun so the shots were a challenge.  But I did manage to get a nice shot of him stretching his wings some.

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Swainson’s Hawk

There were bunches of Savannah Sparrows.  They must be used to cars driving slow and stopping for photos.  Because they never seem to spook.  I love this because you can get some nice closeup photos of them.

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Savannah Sparrow

There’s always lots of Meadowlarks at the refuge.  Now that spring is here they are all singing.  I love their birdsong.  Always seems such a happy tune.

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Western Meadowlark

I saw some Long-Billed Curlews but they flew away as soon as they saw my car coming toward them.  Same with White-Faced Ibis.  I’ve only seen the curlew once before out in Stanley, NM.  They are unique birds.  I was disappointed  I couldn’t get a photo.  The only one I currently have isn’t very good.

As soon as I parked next to the irrigation ditch to start looking for the Lucy’s Warblers I  heard them singing!  🙂  They were a challenge to find.  They prefer to stay way up high in the canopy and they are very tiny…very! There were eating the new growth on the cottonwood trees.  I managed to get a couple of decent shots as they ventured out to the edge of a branch.  Sweet little birds! I was very happy as this is a new bird for me!

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Lucy’s Warbler

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Lucy’s Warbler

Around mid-week I decided to pop in to the zoo to see if the peacocks were performing.  They didn’t seem to be in the mood while I was there.  But I did find one male that didn’t seem to mid me photographing him as he relaxed in the shade of a patio.  So I took advantage of the opportunity and took some closeup photos of his beautiful feathers.  I will have to try again soon and see if I can get a photo of that tail spread out.

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My next outing was to try and find that Northern Pygmy Owl. No luck again.  I seem to pick times to hike up that long road on days when things scare the little guy into hiding.  Remember the last time a big old diesel truck just beat me there.  This time it was a loud group of hikers.  There were only 3 of them, but they definitely weren’t using their “birding” voices.  Sigh…..

I did get a couple of nice shots of a Red-Naped Sapsucker.  Beautiful!

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Red-Naped Sapsucker

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Red-Naped Sapsucker

As I was walking back to my car, I got my best photo yet of an orangetip butterfly.  They finally seem inclined to land.

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Sara Orangetip

At the end of the week, I headed up to Santa Fe.  A Vermilion Flycatcher had been seen in a local park.  I thought maybe I could get a better photo of the male.  I stopped in early at the park, but it was very overcast that day and cold in the morning.  No luck at seeing the flycatcher.  I figured maybe it wasn’t the right conditions for feeding.   So I decided to drive over to the Randall Davey Audub0n Center and hike the trails there.

I’m so glad I made that choice.  The stream was flowing nicely so Scarlett enjoyed the water.  And I got to see Pygmy Nuthatches!  This is only the second time I’ve seen them.  They are adorable! I got several great photos of them.

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Pygmy Nuthatch

After hiking at the center, I headed back over to the park.  The day had warmed up some but it was still very cloudy.  No flycatcher still 😦  but I got my best photo yet of a Cedar Waxwing.  They are very shy here in New Mexico.

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Cedar Waxwing

I also saw a few other birds in the park on this second visit.

 

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Northern Flicker

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American Robin

So I titled my blog today “successful” because I not only got a new bird sighting, but I also got a lot better photos of birds I haven’t seen very often.  🙂

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “A Successful Week of Birding

  1. Great Pics. Your Red-naped Sapsucker looks a lot like our Yellow-belly Sapsucker. Weather is greatly improved. Was out the other day and got 22 different birds and 8 of them were lifers. Thanks again for your blog. I always enjoy. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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