2-Year Anniversary and 11-Mile Hike

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my blog.  I can’t believe I’ve been posting my adventures for 2 years!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my birding outings and other adventures.

Scarlett and I have been walking a lot lately.  And sometimes my fiends join us.  It’s been a lot of fun getting out there and seeing the bosque start to wake up for spring.

My friend Joe Schelling has told me about a couple of owl nests.  So I went to find them  over the past couple of weeks.  One is a Great Horned Owl nest.  The male was difficult to find, but I did manage to locate him after much searching.  He was hiding very well in a pine tree.  The female in the nest is very easy to see.  I’m looking forward to seeing babies soon.


Great Horned Owl


Can you see the owl among the branches?

The other owl nest is a Western Screech Owl.  He’s located near the duck ponds at Tingley Beach.   Which brings me to my 11-mile hike.

For awhile now, I’ve wanted to hike the trail along the Rio Grande from Tingley Beach to Alameda Open Space.  I knew it was going to be a long hike and I needed a full day to do it.  The weather has gotten so nice lately, that I decided I was ready to attempt this long hike.  My plan was to start at Tingley Beach and head north.  Once I got to Alameda, I was going to call a cab to take me back to my car.

So a couple of days ago, Scarlett and I headed out.  It was a glorious spring day.  At the parking lot, I was greeted by loads of beautiful daffodils blooming.  So cheerful.  A wonderful way to start a day.


I started at the duck ponds.  I met up with a couple birder friends there and we enjoyed watching a very cooperative Neotropic Cormorant.  He was enjoying the beautiful morning as well.


Neotropic Cormorant


Love their teal-colored eyes

A Pied-Billed Grebe was also enjoying the morning.   As well as a gorgeous male Wood Duck.


Pied-Billed Grebe


Wood Duck enjoying a good grooming

I’ve seen a particular coloring of duck over the past year.  For the longest time, I thought it was a mallard hybrid of some sort.  But recently I stumbled across a photo of this same duck on the internet.  Come to find out, it’s a Swedish Blue Duck.  Evidently it’s a domesticated duck in Sweden and over the past few years has spread among the states.  I’ve seen this duck in Utah, Nevada and now New Mexico.


Swedish Blue Duck behind a Mallard female

There were lots of turtles out sunning themselves as well.  While taking photos, I guess I never realized there were so many varieties of turtles in the ponds.




I then left the ponds and went in search of that Western Screech Owl.  He was looking out of his hole with slitted eyes.  I guess that bright morning sun wasn’t so pleasant to him.  But I was thrilled to get a cool shot of that owl looking out of the trunk of a cottonwood tree.


Western Screech Owl

I made my way along the bosque.  I saw several porcupines up in the trees.  Soon the leaves will make it much more difficult to see them.



Not far past the owl’s nest, I came across a pair of nesting Cooper’s Hawks.  The female was way down low in the nest and was difficult to see.  But the male was calling from a branch making himself very visible.  I was pleased to get such a nice photo of him.


Cooper’s Hawk

During my hike, I saw a total of four Cooper’s Hawks.  The others were not nearly as cooperative for photos.

Further along the trail, I heard this guy making odd noises.  As I came closer,  I saw him in the water.  At first I thought he needed help, but as I got closer I realized he was doing some kind of training.  Not sure what, but I guess he knew what he was doing.  LOL!



Just upstream of this guy, I saw a Canada Goose wondering about that guy as well!


Canada Goose

I happened upon a pair of Lesser Goldfinches trying to glean a few more seeds from last season’s sunflowers.


Lesser Goldfinch – male


Lesser Goldfinch – female

At one point I heard a bunch of Gambel’s Quail.  I only managed to see this one male as he peeked out from behind some cacti.


Gambel’s Quail

At one point, Scarlett stopped and was staring into the dense brush.  All of a sudden, I saw a coyote run out from behind a bush.  I managed to get a quick pic before he disappeared from view.



Flying overhead I saw a nice Red-Tailed Hawk.  He was enjoying the thermals.


Red-Tailed Hawk

I came across a few crows feeding on the ground.  They actually let me get pretty close.  Which was nice, because black birds are so difficult to get a good photo of .


American Crow

I saw a few other birds along my hike.


Say’s Phoebe


White-Crowned Sparrows


Downy Woodpecker


Spotted Towhee

Five hours and 11-miles later I arrived at Alameda Open Space parking lot.  Whew!!! That was a long walk.  Scarlett and I were pooped!  But we had a great time.  It was so much fun, I think I will do it again soon!