Raptor Overload

Recently I had the privilege to take photographs of rescued raptors at 3 different events!  It is a wonderful experience getting up close and personal with these beautiful birds.  Plus!  All fees associated with these events goes to help the rescued birds.

My first event was the 25th anniversary event of Hawks Aloft.  They are a wonderful group of giving, loving people.  They take wonderful care of the birds they receive through rescue.  Gladly they get to rescue and release a lot of the birds they receive.  But if they get a bird that cannot be released back to the wild, they take amazing care of these birds.  And a few times a year, they allow the public the opportunity to photograph these amazing birds of prey.

The 25th anniversary event was a wonderful evening.  We got to see and speak to many of the “behind the scenes” people of the organization.  They had several birds there, but the photo opportunities weren’t that great.  But I still had a wonderful time!

I manged to get a few photo ops of the stars.

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Long-Eared Owl

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Turkey Vulture

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Western Screech Owl – this photo gives you an idea of how small they are

They were going to have falconry demonstrations, but our unseasonably hot weather prohibited that event.  Darnit!  I was really looking forward to seeing that!

I did get a chance to photograph one of the participants – a beautiful Apomado Falcon.  The coloring of this birds is superb!

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Apomado Falcon

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Just beautiful!

The next event I attended was with Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico.  They have an annual event known as “Breakfast with the Birds”.  They held this year’s event at the Rio Grande Nature Center in one of the areas that you normally can’t see.

It was a wonderful morning!  I got to see so many beautiful birds.  Some of the birds were injured but some were “human imprinted”, which means they associated with humans to a level that they cannot survive in the wild on their own.

Here’s some of best photos I got that morning.

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Western Screech Owl

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Chihuahuan Raven

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Swainson’s Hawk

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American Kestrel

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Peregrine Falcon

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Red-Tailed Hawk

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Great Horned Owl

I liked the perspective of the next photo.  I love getting their wings when they are outstretched.

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Swainson’s Hawk

My favorite photo of the event was of this Barn Owl.  So beautiful! I think the coloring of the Barn Owl is so unique.

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Barn Owl

While photographing the raptors, an inquisitive Greater Roadrunner came through.  He was very curious of us.  You’d think he would have been terrified of all the bird of prey around him!!!

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Greater Roadrunner

When the event was over, I took a stroll through the Rio Grande Nature Center.  I was surprised to see some hummingbirds still hanging around.  I really liked this photo I got of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

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Broad-tailed Hummingbird

And any chance to photograph a warbler is always treat!

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Wilson’s Warbler

My 3rd event I attended was the annual Hawks Aloft Photo Event.  They held it this year in a remote area of the Sandia Foothills.   A wonderfully quiet place.

On the way I couldn’t resist stopping to take a quick pic of this Curve-Billed Thrasher.  I just love these birds!

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Curve-Billed Thrasher

I got to get some great photos of the raptors they brought.  Here’s my favorites of that event.

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Harlon Red-Tailed Hawk – such unusual coloring for a Red-Tailed Hawk

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Red-Tailed Hawk

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Prairie Falcon

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Merlin

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Flammulated Owl

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Barn Owl

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Long-Eared Owl

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Red-Tailed Hawk

Near the end of the event they brought out “Beautiful”.   Believe it or not!  A Turkey Vulture can be beautiful!

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Turkey Vulture – look at the size of that wingspan!  6 feet of total beauty!

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Beautiful enjoying the attention.  She is one of the birds that has been human imprinted.

My favorite photos of that event were of the Long-Eared Owl, the Great Horned Owl and again the Barn Owl.  Beautiful!

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Long-Eared Owl – I loved getting the fall foliage coloring in the background

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Great Horned Owl with attitude

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Barn Owl

I captured a couple of photos of the handler with their birds.  Wonderful people!

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Handler with the Prairie Falcon.  You can tell they adore each other!

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One of the attendees getting an introduction.  This photo gives you an idea of the size of Turkey Vultures.

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Someone suggested the “two old buzzards” take a photo together 🙂  Larry and Beautiful

I hope you enjoyed the many photos I took during these events!  It’s been awhile since I last posted.  This summer and fall were busy times for me.  It’s good to be back blogging!

Birding Around Albuquerque

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a chance to get out and bird a time or two.  I mostly went out to see some rare sightings that have shown up around town.  I missed several, but managed to see a couple to add to my life list.

I visited Valle de Oro a couple times.  I had heard there were a number of warblers there.  It’s always fun to go find warblers, though my neck complains by the end of the day LOL!

When I arrived at Valle de Oro I saw a pair of coyotes out hunting.  One disappeared right away, but the other stayed out long enough to let me get a few good pics.

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Coyote

As always, I saw several Western Meadowlarks out singing.  I love their beautiful voice.

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Western Meadowlark

I walked along the main drainage ditch hoping to see some good birds. A scrub jay announced his presence.

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Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay

Then almost right away I heard a lot of birds singing.  I just started taking pics of everything that moved.  As you know, songbirds are small and fast!!! When I looked at the pics I was surprised to see a several birds I don’t see often.  Mainly my nemesis, the Lazuli Bunting.  Try my hardest, I can’t get a good pic of this bird.

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Lazuli Bunting

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Black-Throated Gray Warbler

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Cedar Waxwing

I heard several Summer Tanagers singing.  It’s amazing how a bright red bird can hide among green leaves.  But they can just disappear!  I only got a few pics and they weren’t very good.  But I did see a Western Tanager female closer to me.

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Western Tanager Female

I had been told where a Common Black Hawk’s nest was near the Valle de Oro.  So I went on a 2-mile hike to find this beautiful bird.  Once I was in the general location, I looked for the nest.  I found it way up high in a cottonwood tree.  There was no seeing if anything was in the nest.  I waited around for a while and eventually heard the hawk calling from a distance.  Then to my delight the bird flew in and landed near the nest.  A lifer for me! At first I barely saw him as he was deep in the leaves.

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Common Black Hawk

Eventually he moved to a better location for photos.  This is a magnificent bird.  From what I understand there are only about 250 breeding pairs in the US.  They are easily disturbed by humans and are known to abandon nests if bothered too much.  So after getting a few pics, I quietly left the area to let them raise their young undisturbed.

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Common Black Hawk

On my way back I saw a flycatcher along the ditch.  I believe it’s a Hammond’s Flycatcher.

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Hammond’s Flycatcher

Then I heard another bird calling that I only rarely hear – a Gray Catbird.  Always a treat to see and hear!   I only managed one pic and that was from behind.

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Gray Catbird

While hiking along he ditch, I enjoyed the wild irises blooming.

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Wild irises

While hiking at Valle de Oro I came across this interesting insect.  I tried looking it up, but I can’t figure out what it is.

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Not sure what this cute guy is….

I had heard about a very rare sighting in the East Mountain area that I just had to go find.  There was a Golden-Winged Warbler sighted and it was practically in my back yard.  After much searching I was rewarded with a short view of this bird.  I took several photos before he disappeared into the deep brush.  I managed to get a few decent pics.  Another lifer!

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Golden-Winged Warbler

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Golden-Winged Warbler

While hiking there I was treated to some beautiful wild apple blossoms.

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Wild apple tree blossoms

I visited the Rio Grande Nature Center.  I hadn’t been there in a while, so it was a treat to see it in the springtime.  Right away I heard a Yellow-Breasted Chat singing.  I managed to find it in a tree on the island in the pond.  So it was quite a distance away.

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Yellow-Breasted Chat

I also saw the resident roadrunners in the parking lot.  Always fun to photograph!

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Greater Roadrunner

While walking the paths, I heard some Summer Tanagers talking back and forth amongst each other.  This time I had more success getting photos of the pair.

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Summer Tanager male

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Summer Tanager female

There were several Black-Chinned Hummingbirds visiting the feeders. Whenever there are several hummingbirds at a feeder, there’s always fights defending their food.  For a tiny bird, they are fierce!

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Black-Chinned Hummingbird

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Uh oh!  He sees another hummer coming for him!

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Defending the feeder!

Here are some of the other birds I saw on my visit.

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Canada Goose

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Western-Wood Pewee

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Lesser Goldfinch

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Ash-Throated  Flycatcher

The gardens were beginning to bloom.  The bees were happily gathering pollen.

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Poppies

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Shooting stars

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Giant black bee

I was entertained by a resident White-Winged Dove that has become very tame.  The gardeners told me his name was Lonesome Larry.  He was so tame, he would take see from your hand.  He stayed so close to me, that I barely got photos because my zoom lens had a hard time focusing on such a close subject.  🙂

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White-Winged Dove

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Lonesome Larry

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Such beautiful coloring

I’ve been keeping an eye on a Red-Tailed Hawk’s nest not far from my house.  When I visited recently, I saw the eggs have finally hatched.  When I first looked, I thought there was only one baby.  But the mother flew off the nest and I saw two babies!

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Red-Tailed Hawk with babies

It’s been great getting out birding.  It was nice to see all the summer birds returning to Albuquerque.

 

 

Christmas Birding

The weather here in New Mexico has been very mild for wintertime.  So I took advantage of the nice day and went birding yesterday.  I haven’t had much chance to bird lately, so it was a real treat to have a whole day to visit several places and get some fun bird sightings.

My first stop was to visit the Rio Grande Nature Center for their Saturday morning bird walk.  When you go on their guided tours, you get taken into places of the park you normally can’t visit.  So it’s always a treat to go behind the scenes.

The early morning temperatures were in the mid 20s, so it was definitely a cold start.  The ducks didn’t seem very happy about standing on the ice instead of swimming in the water.

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Mallards and Wood Ducks

A Black-Crowned Night Heron was hiding in the bushes nearby.

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Black-Crowned Night Heron

On the main pond there were a few ducks enjoying the area that hadn’t frozen over.  It was a treat to see a Hooded Merganser male.  Even though they are common in our area during the winter, you just don’t see them that often.

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Hooded Merganser

Along with the Hooded Merganser there were a few other visitors.

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Ruddy Ducks in the Foreground and a Canvasback female in the back

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American Coot on the left and a Pied-Billed Grebe on the right

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Pied-Billed Grebe

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Mallard

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Canada Geese

We saw a few other birds along our walk, but for the most part it was quiet.

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A variety of blackbirds

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Sandhill Crane

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Sandhill Crane

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Western Bluebird

After the guided tour, I walked around the park a little more to see what might be visiting the feeders.  There was a nice variety of birds enjoying the free meal.

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Spotted Towhee

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Red-Winged Blackbird female

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White-Crowned Sparrow

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White-Crowned Sparrow

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Downy Woodpecker

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Bewick’s Wren

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White-Throated Sparrow

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Black-Capped Chickadee

I walked down to the Rio Grande to see what might be hanging out at the river.  Over the past few years Albuquerque has had a flock of Ring-Billed Seagulls hanging out on the sand bars of the Rio Grande near Alameda Street.  This year those sand bars got flooded over by the river.  I had wondered where the seagulls had moved to since their usual spot was too deep for them.  I was excited to see they had found a new area behind the nature center.  I scanned the flock to see if there were any other breeds visiting the flock, but I didn’t see any this time.

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Ring-Billed Gulls

While photographing the flock, a fly fisherman came down to fish the area.  I managed to get a decent pic of him casting his line.  It’s hard to see, but I still liked the photo.

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Before leaving the nature center, I was lucky enough to see 3 Greater Roadrunners around the parking area.  They are so used to people, that I swear they pose for the camera.  Of course, I took about 500 pics of just the roadrunners.  🙂

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Greater Roadrunner

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Posing so nicely for me

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Got a peek of those gorgeous purple feathers of the crest

From there I visited Los Poblanos Open Space.  I had hoped to see the Western Screech Owls occupying the nesting boxes.  But sadly none of them poked their heads out while I was there.  But I found a few other treasures while hiking around the fields.

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Say’s Phoebe

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Western Meadowlark

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Black Phoebe that managed to find a bug in the cold weather

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Song Sparrow

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A leucistic American Goldfinch

My favorite sightings of that visit was seeing both a male and female American Kestral.  Such beautiful, small birds of prey.

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American Kestral male

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American Kestral female

My third stop was to find the American Dipper that has been spotted in the drainage ditch along the Rio Grande.  Though they are a common bird in our state, they are rarely seen in Albuquerque.  They prefer fast flowing streams where they can dip and dive in the rapids looking for food.  The Rio Grande in the Albuquerque area is mostly a wide, placid river.  But there are a few spots in the year-round flowing drainage ditches that have man-made rapids coming out of culverts.

After walking a little ways along the ditch, I was thrilled to see the dipper bobbing along the water’s edge.  He didn’t seem concerned to have an audience.  It was a real treat watching him feeding in and around the water’s edge.  Needless to say, I took another 500 photos of this bird.  LOL!

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American Dipper

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American Dipper swimming

There were a few other visitors there along the ditch that I enjoyed watching as well.

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Black Phoebe

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler

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Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Overall, I had a great day going from one birding spot to another.  Scarlett had a great time walking all the trails with me.

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A lovely old cottonwood tree

Taking a break…

From blogging about my 20th Anniversary trip.  🙂   Don’t worry, I will get it finished here this coming week.  I’m sure you’re looking forward to seeing my photos from Zion National Park.

Fall is in full swing here in New Mexico.  I managed to get out for a few short hikes.

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Fall colors along Sandia Crest

One day Scarlett and I went to Corrales and walked the irrigation ditch.  Birding was pretty quiet that day.  But I managed to get a few decent pics.

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American Robin

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Western Tanager

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Blue Grosbeak juvenile

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Lesser Goldfinch

But the highlight of the day was seeing a porcupine that had come out of the brush to get a drink.  He took his sweet time getting a drink and then he started walking towards Scarlett and I.  I kept a tight hold on Scarlett’s leash in case she felt the need to go inspect him closer.  He came within a few feet of us.  He then stopped and shook himself several times.  Scarlett had her nose stretched out getting good sniffs in.  That guy was stinky!

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Porcupine

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Getting in a good shake

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You can see his orange teeth and big claws

Walking in the area around my home I came across a few good birds.  They are enjoying the various wildflowers that have started turning to seed.

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Mountain Chickadee

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Hammond’s Flycatcher

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Lesser Goldfinch

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Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

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You can see pollen on its beak

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Lovely!

On one afternoon I was able to stop in at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  It was pretty quiet there except for an inquisitive Greater Roadrunner.  He cooperated nicely for a few pics.

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Greater Roadrunner

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I love the colors on these birds

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Watching me closely

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I love these birds!

I babysat Valerie’s dog Mya for 10 days.  We went on several short walks.  Scarlett was thrilled to have her best friend along.  Scarlett taught Mya how to pose for photos.  🙂

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Mya and Scarlett

Scarlett started her heat.  I have a small Chihuahua named Henry.  He normally snubs Scarlett whenever she tries to socialize with him.  But during her heat he’s been in love with her!

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Henry flirting with Scarlett

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She was loving the attention!

When Henry wasn’t flirting with Scarlett, he was hunting lizards in the yard.  I caught him watching a lizard on the side of the house.

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Henry watching a lizard who’s watching a grasshopper

While digging in the garden I dug up a juicy grub.  To reward the lizard for putting up with Henry, I tossed the grub where he could get it.  He quickly grabbed it up and ran behind the garden fence under a drain spout.  It took some doing, but I was able to get a photo of him trying to eat that fat grub.

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Happy lizard!

Scarlett and Mya were hanging out in the garden with me too.

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My sweet Miss Scarlett

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Beautiful Mya

I love fall but it never seems to last long enough….

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Summer is over….

Bird Walk at the Nature Center

The spring weather here has been very fickle.  One day it’s nice, the next it’s cold, rainy or even snowy.  So I’ve had a difficult time getting out and walking much this past week.  I had a couple hikes to interesting places scheduled, but had to cancel them due to the weather.

Yesterday looked promising to not rain even though there were big storm clouds moving across all day.  So I got up early and met up with the weekend bird walk at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  I haven’t been on one of their walks for quite some time.  I like them because they take you into areas where you normally cannot walk.

Overall it was a quiet morning for the small song birds.  But the Cooper’s Hawks were very active.  I saw one almost get a Red-Winged Blackbird not 5 feet from me.  Then another trying to catch a Greater Roadrunner.  That one gave up quick when that roadrunner fought back!  I wish I could have gotten some photos of that but it was too far away and happened too quickly.

Here’s a few of the birds I got on the walk.

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American Robin with nest building materials

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Ash-Throated Flycatcher

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Orange-Crowned Warbler

After the tour was over, I walked around the Nature Center checking on the feeders.  You can always see something interesting at them.  This day I was surprised to see Gambel’s Quail.  I’ve never seen them there before.  From what I heard they have been clearing a lot of brush nearby that may be flushing them to the center.

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Gambel’s Quail

I was also happy to see a Black-Headed Grosbeak.  The males are so colorful.

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Black-Headed Grosbeak

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Bewick’s Wren

I also got my best photo yet of a Cinnamon Teal.  He swam right by me 🙂

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Cinnamon Teal

The highlight of my walk was getting several good photos of a hummingbird feeding on some cactus blooms.

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I believe this is a Black- Chinned Hummingbird female

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Next I headed into the bosque behind the center.  I thought I would check on the Great Horned Owls.  I saw and heard lots of birds.

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Summer Tanager with a bee

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Olive-Sided Flycatcher

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Western Tanager – female

The Rio Grande was full of activity.  Trying to get a picture of swallows on the wing is so difficult! And that Chat was a ways away just singing.

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Yellow-Breasted Chat

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Long-Billed Dowitcher

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Violet-Green Swallow

I finally made it to the owl nest.  Both babies have left the nest.  I only saw one of the young and it was way up high and buried in the foliage.  I only saw one of the parents.

When I was leaving the center, there was a volunteer standing in the parking lot holding this Great Horned Owl.  He had been injured on power lines at the petroglyphs.  He lost part of his wing so is unable to fly.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph this beautiful bird.

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I wasn’t ready to end the day.  So I headed over to the Botanical Gardens.  They were having an Orchid Show.  So many beautiful orchids to see.  After viewing the orchids I toured the gardens.  Lots of spring flowers were in bloom.  It makes you happy to see pretty flowers in bloom…especially as I write the blog and it’s snowing outside!

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I love daisies!

There’s a Black-Crowned Night Heron that lives on the pond in the Japanese Garden.  Several years ago it was injured somehow and lost his toes on one foot and the tips of toes on the other.  I’ve seen him here at the gardens for several years now.  I spoke to the man that feeds the Koi in the pond, and he says the heron comes over and eats the fish food from his hand.  That’s one smart bird!

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Black-Crowned Night Heron

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Wood Duck

Overall I saw/heard 49 species of birds! And Scarlett and I walked 7 miles!  That’s a good day out!

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Tired Scarlett 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Just Birding Around…..

I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of the spring birds.  The weather has been so mild that I expect to see them any day.  But so far it’s just been the usual birds around town.  Of course, I never tire of seeing any bird, but I love the colors of the summer birds.  They can’t help but make you smile.

I checked on several of the owl nests around town, but I still didn’t see any of the babies.  The nest near the Rio Grande Nature Center has a young one.  Joe managed to get a photo of this year’s new ones, but the baby didn’t show itself the day I went by.  The mother is sitting higher in the nest so I know there’s a baby or two in there.  Dad was roosting nearby.

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Great Horned Owl

 

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Great Horned Owl

While there I saw a cute Western Bluebird enjoying a rest in the shade of a tree.  I just love seeing birds with their feathers covering their feet.  It makes them look so sweet.

 

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Western Bluebird

 

After checking on the owls I decided to stop in a the Los Poblanos Fields.  There were lots of roadrunners about.  They were very busy hunting so it was a challenge getting a photo.

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Greater Roadrunner

 

I checked on the Western Screech Owl… he’s still in the next box.  Several kestrel were about looking for lunch.

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Western Screech Owl

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American Kestral

 

A group of grackles were at a neighboring house posing for the girls.

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Great-Tailed Grackle

 

While watching the grackles I happened to see something enjoying the shade of a tree.  When I crept closer I realized it was a coyote.

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Coyote

When he saw Scarlett he moved away, allowing me to get some photos.  We moved along after a few minutes so as to not disturb him.  I noticed he went back in the shade after we moved off.   Just beautiful!

 

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Coyote

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Coyote

 

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Coyote

I saw a phoebe as I was leaving.  He was calling and calling.  Looking for a mate I suppose.

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Say’s Phoebe

 

Yesterday I decided to get up early and hike Embudito Trail.  I knew we had a major front coming in and the winds were going to be horrendous.  So I wanted to get some hiking in before I’m kept indoors for a couple days.

The morning was very overcast.  So the morning light was very weak for photos.  But that didn’t stop me! Lol!

I was thrilled to see 3 pairs of Cactus Wren building nests near each other in the Cholla Cactus.  I love wrens, and the Cactus Wren are just beautiful and the biggest of the wrens in the US.

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Cactus Wren

 

I must have stood and watched a pair of wrens building a nest for about 20 minutes.  I was within 10 feet of the nest and they didn’t seem to care.  So of course I took a lot of photos.  Came away with a few good ones even though the light was so low.

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While I was photographing the wrens, Scarlett lay quietly nearby.  I heard a Gambel’s Quail calling in a bush near her and saw her watching him. She stayed so still and watched as he looked for food all around her.  I tried to get a photo of them together, but whenever the quail came out in the open, it scurried quickly to the next bush.  She’s a good birding dog.  🙂

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Miss Scarlett watching a Gamble’s Quail

 

Also along the trail I saw the usual suspects.

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Gambel’s Quail

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Ladderback Woodpecker

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Western Scrub Jay with a pinon nut

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Canyon Towhee

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Curve-Billed Thrasher

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Black-Throated Sparrow

 

Soon the wind started picking up.  The front was here and building in intensity.  Time to head home and hunker down in the forecasted 45 mph winds with up to 70 mph gusts.  Yikes!

Hopefully I will be able to get out again soon.

Owl be looking for you :)

Since returning from Truth or Consequences, I’ve been going out most every day enjoying the extremely mild weather.  It has been absolutely gorgeous these past few weeks.

My friend Joe has been telling me about all of his owl sightings.  So, of course, I just had to go find them for myself.  It’s so exciting to see an owl!

After seeing the Great Horned Owl off of Montano, I decided to see if I could find the others.  I did find the one at Calabacillas Arroyo, but she’s way down in the nest and all you see is the tip of her tail sticking up.  The eggs take about a month to hatch.  So I’m expecting to see some babies by the end of this month.

Next up is the Great Horned Owl at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  They’ve nested a little further south from last year’s location.  Higher up in a tree too….grrrr! Makes it harder to get photos! LOL!

So Scarlett and I headed to the river and hiked the beautiful bosque.  I hadn’t been on this section of trail before, so it was nice to see new scenery along the river.  There were lots of Western Bluebirds out feeding in the clear areas.  I never can resist photographing them.

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Western Bluebird

Lots of Northern Flickers about too.  Such beautiful birds.

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Northern Flicker

I finally made it to the Great Horned Owl nest.  There was a breeze blowing and she was snoozing away in the swaying tree.  If you look closely though, she did crack one eye at me.

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Great Horned Owl

I was determined to find the male.  I was surprised to find him directly above me on the trail.  They really don’t seem to mind nesting next to human paths.  I wonder if it’s intentional??

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Great Horned Owl

While I was viewing the owls, little Miss Scarlett snuck off and dove into the river for some fun.  She was really enjoying running in the shallow water.  I could barely see her through the brush.  I let her play awhile before calling her back to head home.  We still had 2 miles to walk to get back to the car! 🙂

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Miss Scarlett playing in the Rio Grande

Once back at the Rio Grande Nature Center, I took a little time to see what might be about.  The feeders usually draw birds all day long.  So even though it was around noon, there was still some good bird activity.

I’m always amazed at how creative and crafty squirrels can be.  This one has figured out how to use its tail to hold itself up so it can reach across to the feeder.

Though the clouds were starting to thicken, the turtles were still determined to sun themselves.  I always wonder how many turtles are in that pond.  Some days you can look at every stick and shore and they are covered in turtles sunning.

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The next day I met up with Joe to try and find that Northern Pygmy Owl in the Sandias. We hiked in with high hopes.  Sadly, no owl again this time.  Drat! I tried again a couple days later with still no luck.   But there was lots of other bird activity.  I even heard and briefly saw the Gray Catbird that has been reported in the area.  I tried to get a photo, but he was there then gone.  He will be on my list next time I make that hike.

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Stellar’s Jay

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Spotted Towhee

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Mountain Chickadee

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American Robin

Scarlett had fun on the hike.  She played in the creek and any patch of snow she could find.  She makes me smile 🙂

Next stop was the Western Screech Owl at Elena Gallegos Park.  I followed Joe’s directions and found the location where it’s been sighted.  I didn’t see it and figured it found a different roosting spot.  But then I looked in one more place and there he was! I’m sure he knew I was there the whole time.  I clicked a photo and then poof! He was gone.  They fly so silently.  He had moved over to a different spot.  I hiked around to get a better shot and then left quickly so as not to disturb him further.

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Western Screech Owl

 

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Western Screech Owl

Since I wasn’t too far away from the Academy School, I thought I would go over there next to find the Great Horned Owl nest there.  And thanks to Joe’s excellent instructions, I found the nest fairly quick.  She was tucked deep inside the fork of a giant Ponderosa Pine.  Fortunately the landscape slopes upward from this tree, so I was able to get a good vantage point to photograph her in the nest.  Again, one eye cracked to keep an eye on me. 🙂

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Great Horned Owl

 

 

I looked around further in the tree and found the male sitting higher up enjoying the shade of the pine needles.  He was sound asleep when I first spotted him.  But a gust of wind came through and really shook the tree.  That woke him up.  Then he was on high alert when he spotted Scarlett lying on the ground below him.  He’s used to students walking under his tree all day every day.  But a dog is a different story!

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Great Horned Owl

 

Heading home after a good day of owl hunting, I saw my neighborhood Red-Tailed Hawk was out looking for an afternoon snack.  And also an American Kestrel.  I always love seeing the birds of prey.  Just gorgeous!  And a wonderful way to end a greet week of birding.

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American Kestrel

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Red-Tailed Hawk

 

I understand next week the weather is supposed to turn cold and wet again.  😦  Hopefully it won’t last long so Scarlett and I can get back on the trails!