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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
As I was walking back to my car, I got my best photo yet of an orangetip butterfly. They finally seem inclined to land.
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.
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.
I also saw a few other birds in the park on this second visit.
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. 🙂