Wonderful Spring Birding with a New Lifer Sighting

First off, let me just say, I LOVE my new camera!  I’m definitely still in the learning phase, but it’s performance is superior to my old setup.  It’s a joy to use, and I’m very happy with my images.

Not too long ago, we had a spring storm blow through and it dumped 12 inches of snow at my house.  The birds were not very happy about this event, and neither were my plants.

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Bleeding Hearts

A Cooper’s Hawk was hanging out at my bird feeder hoping for a meal.

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Cooper’s Hawk

The hummingbirds were happy I had feeders out for them.

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Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

I think the only one happy with the snow was Scarlett 🙂

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My sweet Miss Scarlett

Thankfully the snow melted the very next day, and the temperatures returned to the mid to high 70s right away.  I got to go out hiking several times this week.  I visited Tingley Beach a couple days after the spring storm.  The Rio Grande was raging and flooded most of the bosque trails.  But it was worth trudging through it to see some new spring birds.

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Ash-Throated Flycatcher

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Green Heron

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Baby Mallard

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Summer Tanager

I have lived in the Albuquerque area for over 20 years.  And during that time, I have never visited Sandia Lakes or Shady Lakes (they are next door to each other).  So one day I decided to check out the lakes.

Sandia Lakes was very nice.  Beautiful lawns and cottonwood trees and three separate lakes.

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Sandia Lakes with the Sandia Mountains in the background

The first bird I saw was a Lark Sparrow (first one I’ve seen this year).  He was singing way up high in a tree.  Then I saw several Canada Geese with their babies.

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Canada Geese

While watching the geese, I saw something that looked different.  I quickly realized it was a Western Grebe.  We don’t see them often in our area, so it was a real treat.

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Western Grebe

I saw a pair of Say’s Phoebes busily hunting for bugs.  I soon saw why they were so frantic to find bugs.  They had three babies squeezed into a tiny nest.

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Say’s Phoebes

I saw lots of Black Phoebes as well.  They are such beautiful birds

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Black Phoebe

While walking around the lake, an Osprey flew overhead.  I thought to myself that he might be part of a nesting pair.  This was confirmed recently by my friend Joe.  I’m definitely going to have to check out their nesting progress.

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Osprey

I came across a pair of Black-Capped Chickadees that were acting very agitated.  I never did figure out what they were so upset about.

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Black-Capped Chickadee

As I was walking through the grass between lakes, I saw a Killdeer doing its “I’m injured, follow me” routine.  So I knew there must be a baby nearby.  It was acting pretty desperate, so I thought it must be very close.

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Killdeer trying to lure me away from its baby

When I looked down, I realized it was only a foot away.  I almost stepped on it!  Yikes!  It never did move.  I took a quick pic and then quickly moved away.  Soon I heard the baby calling for its parents.  It was nice to see them all reunite and be assured all was fine.

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baby Killdeer

I then headed over to Shady Lakes. What a beautiful place!  It has several ponds all covered in beautiful lily pads and lined with irises.  The ponds are stocked with different varieties of fish.  But I was there for the birds.

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Shady Lakes

As soon as I stepped out of the car, I saw a Black-Crowned Night Heron sitting beautifully on an old log.  I then realized there were several of them gathered there.   Fabulous!  They are used to people so they let me get pretty close.

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Black-Crowned Night Heron

I walked around the ponds and admired all the beautiful blooming lilies and irises.

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I noticed a moth feeding among the irises.  These moths often get called hummingbirds by people when they don’t look too closely.

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White-Lined Sphinx Moth

The turtles were enjoying those big lily pads!

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My last hike was up to the Cienega picnic area.  The forest service blocks the road for cars until mid-May.  So you have to hike along the road to get to the upper picnic area.  My goal was to try and find the Northern Pygmy Owl that has been seen nesting there.  Now I have made this hike several times both last spring and this spring with no luck seeing that owl.  Well, this time I was successful!  This is a lifer bird for me!

He was calling repeatedly on a lower branch in the aspen tree where he’s been seen nesting.  All the songbirds in the area were very agitated and were trying to scare him away.  It was a wonderful sighting!

For those of you not familiar with this owl.  He’s very small,  only 6 inches from its head to the end of its tail.  So you can see why he’s so difficult to find.

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Northern Pygmy Owl

I decided to hike over to Bill Spring since I was in the area.  A Hermit Thrush was enjoying a bath.  And a baby was in a tree nearby.

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Hermit Thrush

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Hermit Thrush

A Western Tanager (my first of the year), briefly showed himself deep in the trees near the spring.

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Western Tanager

I hadn’t been at the spring long when a Cooper’s Hawk flew in chasing a chickadee.  After that, the birds were scarce.  So I started hiking back to my car.  I saw lots of Black-Headed Grosbeak singing and squabbling in the trees.  I’m guessing they were vying for the attention of the females.

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Black-Headed Grosbeak

I’m thrilled spring is here.  I’m looking forward to getting out again and seeing what other beautiful spring birds have arrived.  🙂

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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.

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Great Horned Owl

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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.

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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.

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Neotropic Cormorant

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Love their teal-colored eyes

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

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Pied-Billed Grebe

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Porcupine

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.

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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!

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Hmmmmmm……

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

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Canada Goose

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

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Lesser Goldfinch – male

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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.

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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.

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Coyote

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

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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 .

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American Crow

I saw a few other birds along my hike.

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Say’s Phoebe

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White-Crowned Sparrows

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Downy Woodpecker

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lot of Bad Bird Photos

I’ve been out walking as often as I can.  Work has been hectic lately so I haven’t had a lot of time for long walks.  But I’ve managed to get out here and there and walk and photograph birds.

The skies have been overcast quite a bit which has caused low light conditions for photography.  Added to the frustrating photography conditions, the birds have insisted on staying in the shadows and diving for cover every chance they get.  Or they were always at the far range of my lens.  It was a challenging week trying to get a decent photo of a bird.  I’m so ready for summer!

So here’s a collection of all the bad bird photos I’ve gotten lately.

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White-Crowned Sparrow

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Crissal Thrasher

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Red-Tailed Hawk

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Common Merganser

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Western Bluebird

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Hermit Thrush

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American Robin

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Northern Shoveler

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Black-Capped Chickadee

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Bewick’s Wren

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Sandhill Cranes

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Black Phoebe

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Dark-Eyed Junco

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White-Breasted Nuthatch

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Lesser Goldfinch

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Song Sparrow

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Northern Flicker – it snowed at my house but he didn’t seem to mind.  He groomed on this perch for some time.

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House Finches

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Spotted Towhee

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Kildeer

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Northern Harrier

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American Kestral

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Say’s Phoebe

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My most common view of birds lately…..

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Eastern Bluebird

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Great Blue Heron

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This scarecrow isn’t scaring these guinea fowl much.

I did manage to get a few decent photos.  These few stood out of the bunch.

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Rock Wren

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Ring-Necked Duck – male

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Ring-Necked Duck – female

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Belted Kingfisher

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Great Blue Heron – he flew fairly low right over my head.  I loved it!

The best photo of the bunch was of this Black Phoebe.  It let me get very close and the sun actually shone weakly helping the shot.

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Black Phoebe

I saw some nice wildlife on the trail as well.

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Coyote

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Red-Eared Turtle

Of course, Scarlett wasn’t concerned that photography conditions weren’t ideal.  She always makes the best of a walk.

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Scarlett loves to jump over logs. 🙂

A Birding Day in Phoenix

Recently my friend Valerie and I went to Phoenix to attend a scrapbooking  class.  The day of class it rained and rained and rained.  I was beginning to believe that I wouldn’t get a chance to bird on the following day.

Luckily, Saturday’s weather had improved.  The rain had stopped, but there were still clouds and a pretty strong breeze and the temperature was pretty cold, especially for Phoenix.  But I deemed it good enough to go birding.

So I headed for my favorite birding spot in Phoenix:  Gilbert Water Ranch.  It’s a fabulous place that has several water reclamation ponds and lots of walking trails.

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Entrance to Gilbert Water Ranch at Sunset

When I first arrived, there were three people there holding rescued owls.  Of course, I just had to stop.  It was a very cloudy morning, so the lighting was poor, but I was determined to get the best photos I could.

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Western Screech Owl

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Burrowing Owl

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Great Horned Owl

After enjoying the owls, Scarlett and I hit the trails.  There were bunnies EVERYWHERE!!!  Scarlett was almost overwhelmed at seeing so many bunnies and mom wouldn’t let her chase any of them.  Those bunnies were either brave or foolish.  🙂

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Cute bunny enjoying the weak morning sun.

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Mom!  That bunny is so close!!!!!

There were lots of shorebirds about. Most of them were quite a distance away, making it difficult to get good photos.

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Long-Billed Dowitchers

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American Avocet

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Least Sandpiper

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Black-Necked Stilts

I saw several egrets and herons about.

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Great Egret

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Green Heron deep in a bush.

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Snowy Egret

I just happened to notice three Wilson’s Snipes snoozing under a bush.  They blended in so well that most people walking by never knew they were just a few feet away.

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Wilson’s Snipes

Lots of waterfowl out.

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Hooded Merganser female

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Northern Shoveler

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Northern Pintail

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Canada Goose

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Green-Winged Teal male and female

Finding and photographing the small birds in the low light and windy conditions was challenging.  I did manage to find a few.   But as you can see, the photos aren’t that great.  It’s quite challenging to take pics of birds on little twigs swinging in the breeze!

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Red-Winged Blackbird

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Cactus Wren

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Verdin

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Mourning Dove

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Abert’s Towhee

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Northern Mockingbird

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Orange-Crowned Warbler

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Song Sparrow

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European Starlings

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler

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Gambel’s Quail

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Gila Woodpecker

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Curve-Billed Thrasher

My most enjoyable part of the day was when I came across several cooperative Anna’s Hummingbirds.  I had a great time taking lots of photos in hopes of catching the fire in the feathers.

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Anna’s Hummingbird female

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Anna’s Hummingbird male – you can see a hint of color

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Anna’s Hummingbird

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Those wings move fast!

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My favorite photo of the day!

Scarlett and I ended up hiking 9.5 miles that day!  We were pooped!  I’m sure Scarlett dreamt about chasing rabbits all night long! 🙂

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Scarlett sound asleep…that’s a satisfied puppy!

 

 

Rare Bird Sightings :)

Temperatures have finally started getting cold in New Mexico.  It’s definitely feeling more like winter now.  And with the colder temps we’ve started seeing more birds arriving for their winter stay.  Along with the usual suspects, we’ve had a few seldom seen and rare birds arrive in the area.  It’s so exciting to hear about an unusual bird near home.

So of course, I just had to head out to find them.  Work has been so busy that it’s been difficult getting away for some birding.  But I managed an hour here and there.  I stopped in at the Alameda open space to check in on some gull sightings.  For some reason, the seagulls love to hang out there.

I first noticed a pair of Common Mergansers swimming among the gulls.  Someday I’d love to get a better photo of these birds.  This is about as good as I ever get.

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Common Merganser male and female

I scanned among the many local Ring-Billed Gull searching for any gulls that looked different.  Immediately what stood out was a couple of Lesser Black-Backed Gull juveniles.  They are much larger than the Ring-Billed and are dark brown speckled.  The juvenile birds could have been one of several species, as they are so similar.  Thankfully one of them flew and I was able to correctly identify the species based on the tail markings.

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Lesser Black-Backed Gull with Ring-Billed Gull behind him

After searching further I spotted several California Gulls.  They are also much larger than the Ring-Billed.

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California Gull

After walking along the river for a little while, I soon had to head back home and work.  Before leaving though I decided to see what might be on the pond next to the parking lot.  I  saw a couple of mergansers feeding.  I initially thought they were Common Mergansers, but after looking closer I realized they were Red-Breasted Mergansers.  A lifer for me! And a more rare sighting for our area.

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Red-Breasted Merganser

I watched them for a while and was thrilled when they swam closer to me.  I even got to see them successfully fishing!

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She caught a bluegill!

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Next she needed to position the fish for swallowing without letting it go

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That’s a big fish to swallow!

I had heard there were Tundra Swans spotted at Bosque del Apache.  I just had to go see them.  I begged my husband to have the day off so I could go see these beautiful birds.  Sometimes it’s a blessing to be self-employed, and sometimes it’s a curse.  LOL!!

Thankfully he let me go.  I got up at 4:30 am so I could get there at sunrise.  In the past I have always stopped at the ponds just before the refuge to watch the Sandhill Cranes take off.  But this time I decided to go to the main pond and take photos of the early morning light.  It was a beautiful winter morning.

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Bosque del Apache at sunrise.  Bald Eagles are perched on the dead tree.

I headed over to the marsh boardwalk to see what might be about.  In the early morning light I spotted a muskrat eating a fish for breakfast.

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Muskrat

I also saw a juvenile Common Gallinule but he was too far away for a good photo.  This is a rare sighting for the area in winter.  Also about were lots of Common Mergansers feeding in the distance.  Then from under the boardwalk a pair of female Hooded Mergansers swam out.  I was able to get some good closeup photos of them.

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Hooded Merganser female

A Pied-Billed Grebe made an appearance as well.

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Pied-Billed Grebe

While standing on the boardwalk, I heard a bird calling above and behind me.  I didn’t recognize it so I turned around quickly to see what it was.  And to my amazement it was a Tundra Swan! A lifer for me!

It landed a ways away on the pond but at least close enough for a photo to correctly identify it.  You can just see the yellow spot between the eye and the bill.

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Tundra Swan

It kept honking and then I heard more flying overhead.  I guess he didn’t want to be left behind.  He quickly took off again and joined his buddies.  In all I saw 6 of them fly off to the south.  My trip was successful!

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Tundra Swan.  You can see he’s quite a bit larger than the Canadian Geese

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Tundra Swan

I never saw the swans again that day so I was very thankful I had visited the boardwalk first thing.  I then drove the loop seeing what else might be about.  There was a Great Blue Heron snoozing in a picturesque setting.  I couldn’t resist taking several photos of him.

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Great Blue Heron

The bird of the day would have to be the Northern Pintail.  There were hundreds of them about.  Needless to say, it was easy to get many good photos.

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Northern Pintail

I saw lots of American Coots, a few Gadwall and Ruddy Ducks that I was able to get decent photos of.  I also saw several other variety of ducks, but they were always too far away for pics.

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American Coot

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Gadwall – male  and  female

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Ruddy Duck

I didn’t see very many little birds.   Here’s the few I managed to see.

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

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House Sparrow

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Black Phoebe

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White-Crowned Sparrow

And of course, there were lots of Snow Geese about.  For the most part they were too far away for any great pics.  I took a few of them feeding in the fields.  Upon closer inspection of my pics, I noticed I got a Ross’s Goose among the Snow Geese.   I don’t see them nearly as often so it was a real treat.

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Ross’s Goose in the foreground.  Snow Goose behind him.

That day there were lots of raptors about.  I love seeing these birds.  They can be a challenge to photograph as they always manage to stay just out of reach of my long lens.  So my photos are rarely sharp.  But I’m still happy to see them.

I saw several American Kestral about.  Such beautiful little birds.

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American Kestral

As always there were lots Red-Tailed Hawks about.  I never tire of photographing them.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

I spotted a large dark bird in a tree quite a ways from the road.  I took a few pics to see if I could identify it.  I couldn’t decided if it was a juvenile Bald Eagle or a Golden Eagle.  It was that big.

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Golden Eagle – eating a raven (you can see its feet hanging down)

But then it flew and I had a conclusive identification.  Golden Eagles legs are completely feathered.   I was thrilled!  Such a beautiful bird of prey.

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Golden Eagle

Now every time I visit the refuge, I always see people with those giant camera lenses.  You know what I’m talking about.  The lenses are so large they need their own tripod.   I always think someday it would be nice to have a setup like that but I don’t feel the need to go out and get in massive debt to get one.  But on this day at the refuge, I was truly jealous of those people.  The Bald Eagles were very active and just out of range of my little camera.  As I was taking photos of them, I was wondering what kind stunning photos these people were getting with their expensive lenses.  It would have been worth every penny to get some of the shots I know they got.  Ah well…….  here’s what I got of the Bald Eagles.

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Bald Eagles and a Raven

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One of the Bald Eagles took off after breakfast

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Success!  Bald Eagle eating a Snow Goose

The Sandhill Cranes finally got within camera range later that day.  Such beautiful birds.

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Sandhill Cranes

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Sandhill Crane among the winter grasses – beautiful!

I went in the garden area of the refuge to see what might be about.  I heard a lot of birds, but not much luck seeing them.  I did get some good shots of a Great Roadrunner.  I love these birds! And it was a great way to end my day at the refuge.

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Greater Roadrunner

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Greater Roadrunner

One other day during the week I was able to pop in at Tingley Beach to see what might be about.  You can usually count on seeing lots of waterfowl during the winter months.  On this day I got to see a pretty ugly Muscovy Duck.  I don’t always see what looks like a pure bred Muscovy so I’m guessing it’s probably a more rare sighting for this species in Albuquerque.

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Muscovy Duck

Here’s some of the other waterfowl I saw that day.

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Wood Duck

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Canada Goose

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American Wigeon

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Canvasback

One day I was driving home and I saw a Mountain Bluebird in the middle of the road.  I thought it would fly, but it didn’t and I drove right passed him.  I quickly stopped and ran back to pick him up.   He looked pretty sad.  I brought him home to see if I could help him.  Here’s a pic of what he looked like when I picked him up.

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Mountain Bluebird

I set him on a towel in the sun on my couch in the living room.   He seemed very dazed.  I think he must have flown into a passing car and stunned himself.

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Mountain Bluebird

He sat there on that towel for several hours.  At one point I made him take a few sips of water then put him back on the towel.  After several hours he finally perked up and started looking around.  Truthfully I thought he was a gonner.  He looked that bad.  So I was so happy to see him looking more alert.  When he seemed coherent enough, I decided to take him back to where I found him.  I know he has a girlfriend there and that they live by the church.  I seem them every day I drive by.

He still couldn’t fly that great.  Probably had a hell of a headache.  But I put him on the ground and he quickly started gulping down juniper berries.  I figured that was a great sign and was happy to leave him there to find his gal.

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Mountain Bluebird – he was eating those berries you can see on the ground

Since that day I have seen him and his lady there at the church.  It feels good knowing I saved that beautiful bluebird!

I can’t wait to see what other rare birds might make there way into my area this winter.   During the past two weeks I’ve gotten 4 lifer birds.  It’s been awesome!  There is a Rusty Blackbird in town at the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor’s Center.  That would be a lifer for me to see him.   I’ve gone by there a few times and have yet to see him.  I heard him one day but no sighting yet.  Drat!  Hopefully I will see him soon.  I will keep you posted!  🙂

 

 

Catching Up

It’s been awhile since I last posted on my blog.  Work has been busy and I only had time for short walks here and there.  But when I was going through my photos I had taken over the past few weeks, I realized I had several that were worth posting.  Ok…let’s be honest…more than several….a bunch!

One of my hikes was up at Carlito Springs.  I hadn’t been there this year and it was just beautiful the day I visited.  Columbine Flowers were blooming near the water.  As Scarlett and I were exploring the ponds, I realized someone had put goldfish in the lowest pond.  I sat and watched them, relaxing, with Scarlett laying next to me at the water’s edge.  It was fun to watch her when she finally saw the fish.  I think this was the first time she’s ever seen fish.  She was fascinated.

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Carlito Spring pond

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Scarlett fascinated by the goldfish

There weren’t any birds about at the spring, which always surprises me.

A few days later I hiked Ojito de San Antonio, which is just a couple miles from Carlito Springs.  There were quite a few birds out that morning, but most of them didn’t want their photo taken.

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Western Bluebird

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Plumbeous Vireo

One afternoon I decided to drive out to Valley Irrigation Road.  I hadn’t been there in quite some time.  As always, I saw several Swainson’s Hawks.  Always a treat to see.

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Swainson’s Hawk

I was surprised at the variety of birds I saw in just 30 minutes of birding by car.

I made sure to stop at the far end of Valley Irrigation Road to see if the  Burrowing Owls were still there.  The prairie dogs immediately put up the alarm when I drove up.

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Prairie Dog giving the alarm call

Off in the distance I did see one owl.  This was the best photo I could get.

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Burrowing Owl

I walked along the river a few times.  I’m always guaranteed nice bird sightings in the bosque.  I’m calling this year the year of the Chat.   I have heard and seen more Yellow-Breasted Chats than ever before.  And surprisingly, most of them are out in the open singing.  In the past, I have found them difficult to spot in the foliage.  I love these birds.

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Yellow-Breasted Chat

Along with the chat, there are a lot of grosbeaks about.  Always beautiful to look at and listen to.

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Blue Grosbeak

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Black-Headed Grosbeak

Here are some other birds I saw during my various hikes along the bosque.

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Ash-Throated Flycatcher

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A successful year for this Canada Goose and her babies

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Indigo Bunting

With the warm spring weather, the dragonflies have come out in great numbers.  I love seeing them.

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On another morning, I walked around the trailhead at Cienega Campground.  A lot of birds were active that day.  I hated to leave to go back home to work.  😦

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Virginia’s Warbler

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MacGillivray’s Warbler

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Warbling Vireo

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Wild Turkey

Last Thursday, the Thursday Birders met up in the Jemez Mountains for a full morning of high altitude birding.  It was beautiful day and there were lots of birds about.

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Williamson’s Sapsucker

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Pygmy Nuthatch

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House Wren

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Western Wood-Pewee

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Dusky Flycatcher

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Western Bluebird

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Violet-Green Swallow

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Northern Flicker

 

The highlight of the trip for me and most everyone attending, was the sighting of the American Three-Toed Woodpecker.  I’ve only seen this bird once before, and only at a great distance.  On this trip, the woodpecker was quite close and willing to stay out in the open for quite some time.  It was a wonderful treat!

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American Three-Toed Woodpecker

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American Three-Toed Woodpecker (you can see the three-toed foot in this photo)

After birding all morning, we all sat down to eat lunch.  We were treated to hummingbirds and Western Tanagers during our meal.

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Broad-Tailed Hummingbird – female

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Broad-Tailed Hummingbird – male

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Western Tanager

Since I was already in the Jemez and the day was still young, I decided to drive up the road to hike the Las Conchas hike.  Such a beautiful trail.  I think it’s in the top 5 of my all time favorite New Mexico hikes.  Scarlett had a blast playing in the water and crossing the boardwalks.   I plan on visiting this trail again soon with my friend Valerie and her husband Kim.  I will definitely post lots of photos of this great trail then.

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While hiking the trail, I couldn’t believe how many Ruby-Crowned Kinglets were singing and flying about.  It was wonderful listening to their beautiful song while I hiked.

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

There were quite a few other birds about as well.  Overall the birding day was quite successful.

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American Robin

I tried to get Scarlett to do a selfie with me 🙂  She wasn’t very cooperative.  I need to teach her the “selfie” command.  LOL!!  But I did get a shot of her giving me some love.

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The best of the selfie attempts with Scarlett

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Scarlett loves me 🙂

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My sweet Scarlett

Around home I saw some baby Mountain Chickadees just before they left the nest.  And I was thrilled to see a new warbler at my house this year.  🙂

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Baby Mountain Chickadee – he was looking out of the nest because the parents were calling and calling-encouraging him to leap out!

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Black-Throated Gray Warbler

Yesterday, my husband drove me to Water Canyon near Socorro, NM, to look for the Red-Faced Warbler.  This would be a lifer bird for me.  As far as I know, this is one of the few known places near Albuquerque where these birds can be found during the spring.

Thanks to Joe and Rebecca’s excellent directions, I found the bird almost immediately after we parked.  The birds weren’t shy at all, and I was able to get several great photos.  Such a beautiful bird and a beautiful song.  A successful trip!!!

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Red-Faced Warbler

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Red-Faced Warbler.  I couldn’t believe I had such cooperative subjects!

On the way home I had my husband stop in at the Taco Bell Marsh.  It was pretty quiet on the marsh except for the Black-Necked Stilts.  They are actively nesting right now.  I got a photo of one acting injured to lure away predators.  They didn’t like us stopping there, so we only stayed a few minutes.

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Black-Necked Stilt

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Black-Necked Stilt trying to lure away a predator (i.e., me and my husband)

Now I think I’m caught up!   🙂  I hope you enjoyed all my various bird walks over the past three weeks.

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Birding along the Bosque

All last week I went walking several days in the bosque along the Rio Grande…from one end of Albuquerque to the other.  I had so much fun exploring and seeing all the spring birds arriving.

On Saturday, April 16, I went to the duck ponds.  I had heard a Vermilion Flycatcher had been spotted there.  The day was cold and rainy.  I searched high and low for that beautiful red bird.

I didn’t see him that day.  So I went back out on Sunday, April 17.  It was still rainy and cold.  But people had seen that bird the day before in the same conditions.

Almost as soon as I arrived at the ponds, I saw several people pointing to the side of the trail.  I just knew it was that flycatcher.  I quickly got my camera out and ready and was able to get a few shots of him.  The photo quality was poor due to the very low light and rainy conditions.

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Vermilion Flycatcher

I went back again on Monday.  The day was clearer and I was hoping to get some better photos of the flycatcher.  Again, I saw him as soon as I hit the trail.  So exciting! Such a beautiful bird!

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Vermilion Flycatcher

Since it was a nicer day, I spent some time walking around the ponds and along the river.  The Canada Geese were squabbling with each other while their mates sat on nests.

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Canada Geese

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Canada Goose on nest

I saw several other waterfowl on the ponds.  As well as a Wood Duck in a tree.  I’m guessing his nest was somewhere nearby but I couldn’t locate it.

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Wood Duck

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Ring-Necked Duck – male and female

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Pied-Billed Grebe

At one of the fishing ponds, poor Scarlett was attacked by some domestic geese.  We were just walking along the sidewalk going around the pond to get a photo of the  cormorants.  Out of nowhere these geese just attacked Scarlett.  She dove into some bushes to get away.  Poor Scarlett…she’s gonna get an irrational fear of large birds after the owl and now the geese!

I quickly saw the reason for the attack.  Babies!!

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Baby goose

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Family of domestic geese

On Tuesday I walked behind Corrales in the b0sque there.  I had hoped to see a Bell’s Vireo but he wasn’t showing himself.  But Scarlett and I had a great time walking in the warm sunshine.  And I saw lots of other birds to entertain me.

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Eastern Bluebird

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Cooper’s Hawk

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Belted Kingfisher

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One of my favs!  Bewick’s Wren

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Bushtit – I love to watch them feed.  Such acrobats!

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Lesser Goldfinch

Then Wednesday I was back at the duck ponds.  That seems to be a hot spot for spring arrivals.  I saw/heard lots of new birds as well as some of the year round residents.  I especially enjoyed the Summer Tanagers.

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Summer Tanager – female

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Summer Tanager – male

After the duck ponds, I visited the Alameda Open Space with Valerie on her lunch hour.  I saw some new arrivals at the gull hangout.  A whole flock of Franklin’s Gull.  I didn’t realize how small they were until I saw them with the Ring-Billed Gulls.

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Franklin’s Gulls with the larger Ring-Billed Gulls

Then at the end of the week I was back at the duck ponds.  It was warm and sunny.  Sadly, I never saw the Vermilion Flycatcher again last week.  I’m glad I went out in the rain to find him!

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Wood Ducks

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Neotropic Cormorant

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Spotted Towhee

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Ash-Throated Flycatcher

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Greater Roadrunner

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Cooper’s Hawk – it was so cool to have him land right above me.  Almost couldn’t fit him in the frame he was so close!

One of my favorite photos of the week was of this Snowy Egret.  He was busy fishing at the edge of the duck pond.  He didn’t seem to mind that Scarlett and I watched him.  I was hoping to get a photo of him catching something, but he wasn’t having much luck finding anything.

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Snowy Egret

And the sitting Canada Geese are now proud parents!

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Canada Geese

Other birds are busily feeding young as well.  I was very happy to see a new baby bluebird!

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Eastern Bluebirds

It was a wonderful week of birding!  I walked 44 miles last week and saw so many beautiful birds.  And all the signs of spring are here.  The bosque is getting green and flowers are beginning to bloom all over town.

Now that spring is here I’ve been lots of other fun stuff on my outings.  🙂

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Horned Lizard

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Red-Ear Turtle

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Red-Ear Turtle

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The beavers have been busy on the ponds

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This dragonfly was as big as my palm!