A couple weeks ago I hiked the Tree Spring Trail on the east side of the Sandia Mountains. The day was positively gorgeous! I had originally intended to just hike a mile in or so to see the wildflowers and just enjoy a nice morning hike. But the weather was so nice and Scarlett and I felt good, so we just kept going until we reached the top.
As soon as I started hiking the trail I saw a House Wren busily searching the forest floor for goodies. He didn’t seem to mind me and posed very nicely for a photo. What a great way to start a hike!
There weren’t as many flowers as I thought there would be, but there were enough to attract some butterflies. Most of them wouldn’t land long enough for a photo, but I managed to get a few decent shots. One of the flowers I love to see is this one below. I love the colors of it. But don’t take a sniff! It stinks!!!
About halfway up the trail, I came across an area that had lots of birds. Most of them were high in the canopy, but I managed to capture a few of them.
Further up the trail, it opens up to a rocky outcropping. The cactus were blooming nicely, so I made Scarlett pose 🙂
Back in the dense forest, a patch of wild irises were blooming nicely. I took my time to get some nice photos as the background lent itself well for closeup photography.
Soon we were at the top. Yay!! We hiked 2.5 miles to the top and it was nice to sit and enjoy the view and cool air at close to 10,000 feet in elevation.
You can see Scarlett up ahead behind the juniper. Silly Girl!
View of Albuquerque from the top of the Sandia Mountains
Heading back down, the insects were more active with the warmer weather. I got this interesting looking bee. He was FAST! So I had a hard time getting a sharp photo. This was my best one of the bunch. But I think it looks like a lion 🙂
I managed to capture a few butterflies on the way back.
Marine Blue – I like the little bee flying by in the background 🙂
While hiking Scarlett kept wanting to eat grass. She must have had a sour stomach. I kept telling her not to eat it. I thought she was listening to me, but then I caught her red-handed! or should I say red-pawed 😉
Later in the week I met up with a new friend I met through this blog. Stephanie and her friend Peggy were visiting here from Illinois, and Stephanie wanted to know where some good birding spots were to see some local birds. Check out her blog inmyeyes77.wordpress.com
Me and Stephanie
I offered to take her out to my favorite spot in the mountains…Capulin Spring. She loved it! Right as we were walking up, we saw a Western Tanager. It doesn’t get much better than that! Most of the birds she saw were lifers for her. We had a great time there.
Broad-Tailed Hummingbird gathering nesting material
On the way back I next took them to Cienega campground. We hiked along the stream and she saw a few more new birds. We had great fun together. Just before leaving, I heard a MacGillivray’s Warbler. I managed to find it and we got to see him singing from the top of the snag. A great way to end a bird outing.
A couple days later I met up with Stephanie and her friend Peggy again. I took them to the Piedras Marcadas petroglyphs. I was hopeful they would enjoy the rock art and see some more variety of new birds for them. And we weren’t disappointed! I brought Scarlett along on this trip as they were disappointed not to meet her the other day.
I was upset with myself though because I forgot to turn on the optical vibration reduction on my camera as I had turned it off the day before. So my photos weren’t very sharp on this trip. 😦
Scarlett intently watching the jackrabbit
I hope someday to visit Stephanie on her home ground to see her favorite birding spots.
My next hike was at Four Hills / Manzano Open Space. I had hoped to see the Gray Vireo that’s been spotted nesting there. But no luck on that visit. But I did see a very cooperative Black-Throated Sparrow, which as you know is one of my most favorite birds.
Another bonus of the hike was a brief glimpse of a Scott’s Oriole. Beautiful bird! I got this shot at a distance. But when I tried getting closer he flew away.
The Cholla Cacti were blooming beautifully. I love their bright pink flowers.
Cholla cactus bloom
Scarlett enjoyed the early morning hike. Lots of rabbits running here and there.
My beautiful Scarlett
Around home has been very active with lots of babies being born. It’s been lots of fun finding the nests of the birds in my yard and hearing lots of babies begging for food.
House Finch enjoying the morning sun
But the biggest surprise was finding a Cooper’s Hawk nest in my yard. I only took one photo as it was very nervous of my finding it’s secluded location in the far corner of my 4 acres.
Cooper’s Hawk on nest
As you can see…I’ve really been enjoying the summer weather! I have discovered it’s much easier to sit and edit photos and write my blog in the winter by the fire with a cup of coffee. In the summertime, I’m wanting to be out exploring!