I was able to meet up with the Thursday Birders again. I had to work until 11 the night before but it was worth it. Such a beautiful day with good company and birds.
We met up at the Alameda Open Space which has a pond, an irrigation ditch that runs year round, trails along the Bosque and access to the Rio Grande river. It makes for a chance to see a wide variety of birds.
We started our walk at the pond but nothing of interest there. Just a bunch of Mallards. So next we started walking along the irrigation ditch. Right away someone spots a Wilson’s Snipe. I saw it fly but lost it as soon as it landed. Thanks to Joe’s patience in showing me where he was, I finally was able to get a photo. Those birds can be completely camouflaged on just bare mud!
As we made our way along the ditch the birds were pretty quiet. Which has been the case for a couple weeks now. Someone spotted a pair of Northern Flickers. I think they are so beautiful.
Soon after we came upon a tree loaded with American Goldfinches with a few Pine Siskins mixed in. Tough to get a photo as they were way up in the top of the tree among all the tiny limbs. But at times they would fly down for a drink in the ditch. Not a great photo as they were in the shade at quite a distance.
American Goldfinch with Pine Siskin behind him
We also saw a Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe, House Finches, White-Crowned Sparrows, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and Robins in this area.
We then moved into the Bosque. Pretty quiet in there. I heard a Bewick Wren. Lots of Juncos. Sadly no hawks, owls or the elusive Bald Eagle.
I did get a good photo of Scarlett on a log. She was so reluctant before to climb up on things. But now she loves it.
There’s one spot along this Bosque trail that has a neat path down to the river’s edge. I got a photo of Lefty at the end of this trail and I couldn’t resist a selfie 🙂
We made it to the river access last at the pump station next to Alameda. The Ring-Billed Gulls like to hang out on the sandbars here. Along with them were lots of Mallards, a few Common Mergansers, Cackling and Canada Geese, a Pied-Billed Grebe and a few White-Fronted Geese. All the birds were at quite a distance so photos aren’t great. As usual, whenever I’ve seen the Common Merganser I can’t get a good photo. Someday I will.
Greater White-Fronted Geese
We headed back to the parking lot. As we crossed a foot bridge over the ditch we saw some Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets feeding at the water’s edge. They were really close for good photo ops.
Then Joe pointed out a Red-Tailed Hawk way up on the telephone pole. As I got ready to photograph him, I saw the crows badgering him to go away.
Red-Tailed Hawk with an American Crow harassing him
Meanwhile the pigeons were oblivious to the danger. I watched a male dance on the power line to a potential girlfriend 🙂
After lunch I decided to stop in at the Rio Grande Nature Center. I hadn’t been there for awhile.
There was a female Common Merganser at the main pond. But once again she was at the furthest point away from me. So still no good photo.
Common Merganser female
There was some decent activity at the feeders.
And I finally got a good photo of a Chickadee! I was just telling Joe that morning that I can never get a good photo of those birds :). But this day I got 2!
Black-Capped Chickadee - this photo is my favorite
I heard some rustling in a huge cactus. When I peeked in, a big yellow eye looked back at me!
At the main viewing pond there were lots of Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls and Wood Ducks.
I had hoped to see the Cinnamon Teal that has been seen there. But no luck this day.
I stopped by our office in Cedar Crest before heading home. And to my delight there were Western Bluebirds hanging out in the parking lot. I just had to get some photos.
I was so excited when he flew and landed even closer to me. I was able to get one photo before he flew off again.
What a fabulous way to end a great birding day!