Last time I wrote, I had left off around mid-day on my second day of birding near Truth or Consequences. I had decided to eat my picnic lunch back at the Caballo Lake State Park where I had birded earlier that morning. I was hopeful that there was still a lot of bird activity there even though it was later in the day.
I wasn’t disappointed! Upon arriving back at the park, I saw a pair Cinnamon Teal in the river. Yes! This was a duck I was really hoping to see. Such a beautiful bird.
While walking along the river trying to get a decent photo of this duck before they decided they didn’t want me to photograph them, I saw lots of activity in the bushes. There were lots of sparrows flitting around in the shade of the bushes. It was a challenge getting some decent photos, but I had lots of fun trying. I was surprised by the variety of sparrows in one small area.
Hanging out on a wire, I spied a Loggerhead Shrike. I love seeing these birds. I think they are so unique in how they have learned to hunt and save food.
There were lots of Yellow-Rumped Warblers flitting among the trees. They were so busy it was a challenge to get a photo. But I managed to get a pic of a male Audubon variety. I think they are very striking.
Taking another peek at the river I saw there was a Green-Winged Teal this time. He was very skittish.
The day was getting on. I wanted to visit Elephant Butte Lake while I was in the area. So I left Caballo Lake State Park and headed north.
On the road to the lake, I spotted a kingfisher hanging out on a wire above a creek flowing into the Rio Grande. I had to stop on the bridge and take a quick pic. Thankfully there wasn’t any traffic!
I wanted to bird below the Elephant Butte dam before I went to the lake. I had never birded this area before but had heard it was a good location. As soon as I parked and looked out the window, I saw several Pyrrhuloxia feeding on the ground right next to my car. I was so excited! I love these birds but have been challenged in the past to get a good photo. I was afraid to open the car door, fearing they would fly far away never to be seen again. So I carefully eased open my car door, softly stepped out of my car, and slowly brought my camera up for a photo. Snapped a few pics before they flew to a nearby tree.
I walked slowly to the tree and saw a male sitting sweetly on a branch. Not a care in the world. I realized I didn’t need to be so cautious. These birds were obviously used to people in the park. So I relaxed and enjoyed this moment. He was happy to sit there and look at me while I photographed him. I took a bunch of photos, then just stood there and watched this beautiful bird until he decided he wanted to go feed some more. It was a fabulous moment! And I was rewarded with some great photos.
I walked the park looking for other birds, but it was fairly quiet. Just before getting into my car, I saw a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet flitting among the trees. He was calling and looked agitated about something. Which was good for me because I got a photo of him clearly displaying his ruby crown. These colorful feathers aren’t always displayed.
From there I drove up to the lake. I was hoping I would see some of those White Pelicans on the water, but they weren’t there. I saw several Ring-Billed Gulls and Neotropic Cormorants. Otherwise, the lake area was pretty quiet.
I decided to call it a day. I was pretty tired. I had been birding for almost 12 hours straight! But before leaving the lake, I took one landscape photo from a high vantage point. The view was amazing.
As I headed back to TorC for a hot meal, hot soak and comfy bed, I had to stop as several deer crossed the road in front of me. Just beautiful!
When I got to the hotel, I saw the Curve-Billed Thrashers were out enjoying the late afternoon sun. These birds are so used to people around that they didn’t mind my photographing them. I thought to myself… next time I come I’m bringing a tripod. I’d love to get some sharper images of these guys.
Another great birding day. One more day of birding ahead of me before I had to head home. Stay tuned!