Birds, Blooms and a Kite

Last Monday I had to deliver something to the north end of Albuquerque.  So I took advantage of the drive and decided to walk along the irrigation ditch behind Corrales.  It was a hot day, and I didn’t get on the trail until 11 am.  I figured there wouldn’t be any birds about at that hour, but I was surprised.  There were quite a number of them out.

Right away I saw a Blue Grosbeak singing.  Such a beautiful bird.  And he posed briefly for me too!


Blue Grosbeak

Soon after I saw a pair of Summer Tanagers.  Both of them were very busy flying about.  I never could get a good shot of the female.  But I did manage a decent shot of the male.  It’s difficult to photograph birds in the trees when the sun is straight overhead!


Summer Tanager male – you can tell he’s hot!

The cottonwood trees are busy making cotton to spread their seeds.  A Chipping Sparrow was collecting some of this cotton to line its nest.


Chipping Sparrow gathering nesting material


Chipping Sparrow

I saw a family of crows.  The baby was begging and begging for food.  They were deep in the shade.  I guess I would be too if I was a black bird living in the desert!


American Crows

An Ash-Throated Flycatcher made a brief appearance for me.  Then he was q1uickly gone again.


Ash-Throated Flycatcher

Then to my surprise, a Mississippi Kite flew over me and landed in a tree nearby.  He sat there a few minutes and groomed his feathers.   That was such a nice surprise!  I have only seen this bird once before in Texas a few years ago.


Mississippi Kite

Fortunately the trail was fairly shady, or Scarlett and I would have roasted in the heat and sun!


Corrales Irrigation Ditch trail – you can see Scarlett in the lower right looking for a lizard.

After the long walk, I was driving out of the neighborhood where I had parked.  I couldn’t help but notice the giant Century Plant blooming.  I had never seen one actively blooming before.  I’ve only seen the dead flower standing tall.   These are a type of agave plant.  And they only bloom once in their 25-30 year life.  Once they bloom, they die.  So it’s bittersweet to see one blooming.


Blooming Century Plant

After admiring this beautiful blooming plant, I couldn’t help but notice that this home had gorgeous gardens.  It was stunning! I took a few photos of the blooming gardens, but they just didn’t do it justice.  What I had really wanted to do was go in their back yard.  That looked amazing!


Desert garden in Corrales


Beautiful gladiolas

While photographing the gardens, I noticed a Lesser Goldfinch feeding on some flower seeds just a few feet away from me.


Lesser Goldfinch

I couldn’t resist photographing the bees enjoying the beautiful gladiola flowers.  There were so many buzzing about.


There were other insects enjoying the blooming garden as well.


Weird bug!


This grasshopper has cool looking eyes!

I saw a hummingbird briefly, but I never could get a good photo of him as he was deep in the flowers.


Can you see the hummingbird?

And the sunflowers were absolutely stunning!


I love sunflowers!

An American Robin was enjoying the shade and deep grasses under a tree.  Smart bird!


American Robin

It was a great hike.  And such wonderful subjects to photograph on a summer afternoon.


At home my Cooper’s Hawk has a hatchling!  I can only see one chick right now.  Not sure if there will be any more.  I could tell it must have hatched in the just last couple days because it was very wobbly on its feet.  I only got a couple of terrible photos today.  Hopefully I will get some better ones as it gets a little older and stronger.


Baby Cooper’s Hawk


The baby tried standing up and fell over.  🙂

And then I noticed I caught a squirrel!  I have declared war on the squirrels at my house.  They have multiplied and are causing a lot of damage to my house, gardens and chickens.  They steal my chicken eggs.   They’ve been eating plants out of my garden.   And they’ve been pulling the stuffing out of the cushions on my swing.  So I’ve been actively trapping them and transporting them a few miles away.  This little girl was squirrel #7 that I’ve trapped in just the past few weeks.


Squirrel #7 in my car ready to be taken to a new location.  I have to admit it is adorable…

There have been a lot of  butterflies flying around my home lately.  I managed to get a couple of nice shots last weekend.  I think the Two-Tailed Swallowtail is State Fair worthy.  Yet another photo to have to consider in my long list of potential State Fair entries.


Juniper Hairstreak


Two-Tailed Swallowtail

Lastly, I’ve had a lot of female hummingbirds building nests.  They come and get nesting material from a ball I’ve hung in a tree.  As of yet, I haven’t found any of their nests this year.  They can hide them well!




4 thoughts on “Birds, Blooms and a Kite

  1. Really liked the Blue Grosbeak and Summer Tanager. I feel your pain about the squirrels. Like you, I have declared war. My count is 20 squirrels and 17 chipmunks. They all get relocated, hopefully not to return.

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