Last Birding Trip of 2017

During the last week of December, I was able to take a trip to Bosque del Apache. I try to visit there every December as that’s when the winter bird count is pretty high.

I left well before sunrise. As I was driving down, I started getting into thicker and thicker fog. At one point I had to slow down to 40 mph on a 75 mph interstate.

It was difficult to bird first thing due to the thick fog, so I took a few scenic shots.

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Boardwalk through the marsh

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A lone American Coot walking through the marsh area

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Quiet solitude

I was pleased to see a beautiful coyote in his handsome winter coat.

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Beautiful coyote among the hoarfrost

Fortunately, the fog cleared up once the sun rose and I was able to start hunting for birds.

I first noticed a Great Blue Heron grooming.

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Great Blue Heron

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Great Blue Heron

There were lots of raptors about. Most of them seemed reluctant to move from their morning perch.

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Northern Harrier

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Cooper’s Hawk

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American Kestral

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Northern Harrier

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American Bald Eagles

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Red-Tailed Hawk

I started driving around the ponds to see what waterfowl was about. I happened to notice two Northern Harriers squabbling. They were quite a ways away but I managed to capture a pic.

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Northern Harriers fighting

I was surprised to find that there really wasn’t very many waterfowl about. I had to really search the ponds to find any. Not sure where they were all hiding.

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Bufflehead – male

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Northern Pintail

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Bufflehead – female

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Pied-Billed Grebe

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Ring-Necked Duck

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Northern Shoveler

Of course there were lots of Snow Geese about. But every time I made it around the circle to see them, they were flying.

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Snow Geese

I always hear there are wading birds that winter at the refuge, but I rarely see them. But on this day I saw three Lesser Yellowlegs feeding in the shallows of a pond.

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Lesser Yellowlegs

I saw a few songbirds about that day. There were a couple of rare sightings for the area, but I never saw them. Drat!

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Song Sparrow

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Gambel’s Quail

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Marsh Wren

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White-Winged Dove

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House Finch

One of my favorite sightings of the day was a Crissal Thrasher singing his little heart out atop a bush. Surprisingly he let me get pretty close singing the whole time.

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Crissal Thrasher

I sat and watched a roadrunner look for lunch. They are always entertaining. He hunted for awhile before he noticed me watching. I took this pic the moment he realized he wasn’t alone. šŸ™‚

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Greater Roadrunner

My last sighting of the day was a grebe off in the distance. When I zoomed in and took a pic, I was delighted to see it was a Clark’s Grebe. These are considered a rare sighting for the area, so that was a real treat.

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Clark’s Grebe

I left around noon and decided to drive a different route home. I took the Quebradas Scenic Route home. I had heard a lot about this road. But to be honest I couldn’t really see why it was considered so beautiful. But there was one place on the road I found very picturesque, so I got out a took a pic.

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Quebradas Scenic Route

Just before leaving that highway, I came across some deer feeding in the fields.

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Mule Deer

I still had some light left in the day, so I stopped in at the Bernardo Refuge. The Sandhill Cranes seem to prefer this area over Bosque del Apache.

I got there near sunset, and all the cranes were coming in to the pond to drink. It was a beautiful sight seeing and hearing the cranes flying overhead in the soft light of sunset.

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Sandhill Cranes

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Sandhill Cranes

While photographing the cranes, I happened to notice the Super Moon had risen. It was big and blue!

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Super Moon

I had a wonderful day birding. It had been quite some time since I had been able to take a whole day to bird.

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Just beautiful…

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While hiking the trails, a train came through. šŸ™‚

16 thoughts on “Last Birding Trip of 2017

  1. Wow, Wow, Wow!!! What stunning photography Kelly, you take the prize, love your fog on water shots, amazing great blue heron and hawk shots, your reflections are seamless and stunning. Wow and that greater roadrunner, I so want to see them one day. Super moon and was you said ” just beautiful…” Thanks for sharing this very special post of a most beautiful place, and yes early morning is always the best light and effect we find also, the fog just gave you another vista to enjoy. Enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Ashley! I know you would love the roadrunners. Their personalities are the best. Some day we will switch places and you can see the roadrunner and I will get to see the fairy wren. šŸ˜‰ I too thought the fog beautiful. Instead of letting it ruin my day, I embraced it. It was so quiet walking the trails in the fog. Very peaceful. Have a blessed weekend Ashley!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a gorgeous set of photos! Your bird pics are so sharp and you have a good idea for framing. Really outstanding set. I think my favorite photo of all, though, is the one of that bench in the fog. That is so evocative and serene.
    Vicki
    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Always, I enjoy your Blog. Happy New Year and good hunting. Cheers. Since I don’t do a blog, I put in a link to my Flickr albums in the website location. Too cold up here in WI to get out much. Windchill below zero this afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic photos! I made my first visit to Bosque del Apache last March (missed the cranes) and was flabbergasted by the number of birds there. We were lucky enough to see the snow geese on the ground, which made it easy to pick out the Ross’s geese that were hanging out with them.

    Liked by 1 person

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