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!  🙂

 

 

20th Anniversary Trip – Day 5

It was finally time to leave Winnemucca, NV.  Tim found 3 nuggets over the last couple days, so he was pleased.  Upon further reading on the internet about the Rye Patch area, we learned that in September 2015 they had a nugget hunting rally in the area.   This place is small, about 2 square miles.  Last year they had over 600 people out there over a 3-day period swinging metal detectors looking for gold.  So for Tim to find two nuggets there makes you realize he’s pretty good at finding elusive gold.

The night before when we were heading to the Mexican food restaurant, I told Tim I had seen a sign for a brothel.  He said it couldn’t be for real.  So the next morning we drove over there before heading out of town.

Sure enough, it was an active brothel! Of course, I wanted to take a picture of the sign before we left.  While we were out taking pics, the owner came out to ask if we needed anything…really??  LOL!

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Brothel in Winnemucca, NV

We told him no, we were just curious.  He introduced himself as Mike and proceeded to tell us all about the place.

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Mike – owner of the brothel

Next thing we know, we are getting a tour of the place.  Sadly I was not allowed to take pictures inside.  The brothel has been open nonstop since 1864 in that location.  He showed us where the original building walls were and what had been added on over the years.  It was a fascinating tour!

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Sign at brothel

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Tim being lured in!

He has a working girl that is 64 years old.  She even married her latest husband there at the brothel and continues to work there.  He said she keeps the lights dim so she looks better.  LOL!

We asked him about rates.  He said a basic hour, with no special requests, starts at a minimum of $400 a hour.  Some girls charge more.  If you want extras, like a party in the hot tub, it can cost $1,000 an hour.  If you want a date outside the brothel, it starts at $700 a hour. He takes 50% of the fees and then charges them room and board.  Crazy right!?!

Soon we were on our way to Ely, Nevada.  Tim wanted check out an old ghost town outside of Ely called Osceola.  The largest nugget ever found in Nevada was found there.

We saw some Sandhill Cranes in the lush valley while heading south to Ely.  I’m sure they are in the process of migrating to my home state of New Mexico to the Bosque del Apache NWR.

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Sandhill Cranes

To get to Ely you have to travel the “Loneliest Highway in America”. And I survived! according to the literature I came across 🙂

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Eureka was a cool old town.  It’s creation was attributed to the large silver deposit in the area.  Today there is still a large silver mine in operation.  We liked this town because it had a lot of its old buildings still in use.  We enjoyed stretching our legs and walking main street.  We also stopped in at the local saloon for fries and a root beer 🙂

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Jackson Hotel in Eureka

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Eureka Courthouse

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Famous opera house in Eureka

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Tim checking out the old mining equipment

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Eureka Courthouse

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Tim in front of the saloon where we had a snack

Next stop of Ely, NV.  Another great town that was started due to a large copper deposit in the area. The Kennecott Mine is still in operation today.

Before stopping for the night in Ely, we drove on through to visit the old ghost town of Osceola.  It is located in the Great Basin National Heritage Area.  It is a fascinating town.  You can learn more about the history of this area at this website  Osceola District – Great Basin Heritage.

The highest peak in Nevada is known as Wheeler Peak – the same name as the highest peak in New Mexico.

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Wheeler Peak – highest peak in Nevada at 13,065 feet above sea level

When we got to Osceola the wind was blowing at 40 mph+.  Needless to say, I wasn’t too keen on spending much time out exploring and taking photos.  But we did take time to walk around the famous Osceola cemetery.

The view from the cemetery was beautiful.  I couldn’t think of a nicer resting place for these souls.

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View from Osceola cemetery

There’s not much left of the old gold mining town of Osceola.  But what was left was great for photos.  Especially that old truck.  I love rusty old trucks!

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Osceola Ghost town

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Stone foundation of old home

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Great old truck!

There is still one gold claim still in production in the area.  You can see the extensive workings from the road up the canyon.  Tons and tons of earth have been removed to get to the elusive gold in the area.

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Current mining operation at Osceola

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This canyon has been worked for well over a 100 years

I saw several birds as Osceola.  But with the strong winds, it was almost impossible to get a photo.  I did manage to get a couple decent pics.

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Western Tanager

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Lincoln’s Sparrow

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Rock Wren

On the way back from Osceola, just outside of Ely is a small lake called Comins Lake and is part of the Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area.  Of course I just had to stop there that evening so I could photograph some birds.  By now I was in birding withdrawals as I hadn’t seen hardly any birds since we left Provo, UT!

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At a long distance away – I believe these are Wilson’s Phalarope in winter plumage

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Yellow-Headed Blackbird

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Green-Winged Teal

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American Coot

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Sora

We had dinner at hotel Nevada. It opened in 1929, was the tallest building in Nevada well into the 1940s and was the state’s first fire-proof building.

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Great historical hotel and very popular with the bikers

It was nice touring the old part of town.  There wasn’t anybody around, so I got some nice photos.  I think they turned out nice in black and white.

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The main building of the railway was built in 1910.

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A lot of the original constructi0n is still standing and in great condition

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I loved this old truck

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Engine house

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Ely rail yard

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I thought of my fellow blogger Donna Catterick when I took this photo 🙂

It was a long, fun, full day!  Tomorrow we head back to Utah and Zion National Park! Stay tuned!

 

 

Late Winter Birding in TorC – Day 3

I woke up again bright and early… ready for another full day of birding.  Since I had pretty much birded the area out yesterday, I decided to head home first thing… with a stop at Bosque del Apache first of course.

I left well before sunrise.  As I was driving down the interstate I couldn’t help but notice the full moon setting.  It was just beautiful.  But by the time I found an exit (they are scare in this area) and changed my camera settings to capture a night shot, the moon had almost set.  I did manage to get a couple decent photos before it was gone.  I had hoped to have time to set my camera so that the moon would be in focus instead of just a ball of light.  Sadly I just didn’t have time.  I rarely shoot at night so the settings just aren’t automatic for me.  Now ask me settings for different lighting conditions to capture a bird, I’ve got those memorized!

When I arrived at the Bosque del Apache, I was very disappointed in the weather conditions.  When I left TorC it was calm and warm.  But when I got to the Bosque it was cold and extremely windy.  The ponds were all choppy and nothing was out feeding.  Big disappointment.  I drove the loop once, saw two more skunks! But mostly things were just very quiet.

I took a few photos of birds trying to feed during the windy morning conditions.  But it was so windy I had a difficult time taking photographs.  Either the bird was moving all over because of a swinging branch and/or I couldn’t hold my camera steady in the gusts of wind.

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Killdeer

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American Kestral

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Red-Tailed Hawk

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Red-Winged Blackbird

Since it was so quiet at the Bosque and the weather conditions just awful, I decided to head up to Bernardo and see what was happening there.  Of course, all the Sandhill Cranes were here.  I can’t understand why they prefer this location over the Bosque del Apache, but they do.  And surprisingly the wind had calmed down considerably in this area.

 

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Sandhill Cranes

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Western Meadowlarks

 

Since there was nothing new here, I drove further north and stopped at Los Lunas to see if I could find the Burrowing Owls that have returned for nesting.  Sadly, they were not showing themselves either.

So far, this day has been a bust!

So I headed yet further north and popped in to the Valle de Oro.  I usually always see lots here.  But nope! Another quiet location.  I did get a nice shot of a Horned Lark.

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Horned Lark – female

 

So by now I’m back in Albuquerque.  It was only 1:30 which meant I still had plenty of time to bird.  So I took Joe’s instructions and decided to find a Great Horned Owl nest he told me about off Montano.  It was literally off the main road way up in a tree.  I couldn’t see the male, but she was fairly visible from the ground.

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Great Horned Owl

 

I still wasn’t ready to call it a day.  So I decided to head over to the Rio Grande Nature Center.  There’s always activity there… right??!  Nope, this day was definitely the birds day off.

Just before getting into my car, I saw a couple of folks taking pictures of something in the parking lot.  My guess was a Roadrunner.  And I was right!  This guy was very tame.  I sat on the ground at the picnic tables and he came up to me looking for a handout.  I didn’t have anything to give him, but some other folks shared some tidbits.  I got several great photos of him.

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Greater Roadrunner

 

Finally!  Something worth shooting! 🙂

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Great Roadrunner – my favorite pic of the day!

 

So that concludes my late winter birding trip to TorC.  I had a blast.  Over the three days of birding, I saw/heard 76 different species of birds.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my birding weekend!   I’m ready to go again once spring migration starts!!!! After all….I still need that Vermillion Flycatcher photo!

A variety of birds in a variety of places

The last week or so I’ve been out birding when I can. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous. Very warm and sunny. It feels like spring…not February!

Last week we had to go back to Las Vegas, NM, for work. It was way nicer weather than the week prior. I got to bird for only short time as it was a busy work day. The birds were very quiet. But I got to enjoy watching a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks being playful.

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Red-Tailed Hawks

I visited Corrales last week for a long walk. Again, the birds were quiet. But I saw another Red-Tailed Hawk sitting nicely across the ditch from me.  I thought his breast feathers looked really red.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

Then last Friday I had the morning unexpectedly available. So I got up early to bird. I went to Tingly Beach and the duck ponds. It was a great birding day.  I saw 34 species that day. I love days like that!

Here’s some of my better shots.

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Not often you see crows and ravens together. You can really see the size difference.

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Lesser Scaup female

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Canvasback

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Mute Swan

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Rock Pigeon - i liked the coloring of this one

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Pied-Billed Grebe in front of a Mallard

After walking the ponds, I wasn’t ready to go home. It was such a beautiful day. Scarlett wasn’t ready to stop hiking either.

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Miss Scarlett

So I decided to head over to Los Poblanos open space. See if I could find the nesting Western Screech Owls.

I saw 3 roadrunners at once busily looking for food. And an American Kestral hunting nearby.

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Greater Roadrunner

Sandhill Cranes were also feeding close by.

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Sandhill Cranes

Then I came upon a nesting box and was thrilled to see an owl occupied it. 

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Western Screech Owl

I wouldn’t get out for almost a week. But I finally got to go today. Joe Schelling met up with me this morning to help me look for the Northern Pygmy Owl seen at the Cienega picnic ground. The gates are closed go the picnic grounds until May on the east side of the Sandias. So we had a two-mile round trip hike to find this bird.

While hiking we saw lots of American Robins, Northern Flickers, Townsend Solitaires, and Mountain Chickadees. Most of them were high up in the trees making for difficult photography.

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American Robin

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Northern Flicker

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Townsend Solitaire

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Red-Breasted Nuthatch

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Mountain Chickadee

Scarlett had a blast running around in the snow. Just loving the chance to stretch her legs.

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Sadly no Pygmy Owl for me today.  While we hunted for the Owl we talked about our other sightings recently.  He told me about some Barn Owls he’d seen at Los Poblanos. Of course, I just had to find them!

Before leaving the mountain, we decided to head to the Crest to see if there were any rosy finches about. I saw a Brown-Capped Rosy Finch but it flew away before I could get a pic. But a Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch stuck around long enough.

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Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch

We didn’t see the large flock that usually swoops in. Ah well…

Heading to town later on I decided to stop at Tingly Beach where Joe mentioned seeing a Western Screech Owl.  No Owl but I saw a porcupine sleeping in a tree very low to the ground. I could have reached out and touched him.  Zoom in on the photo and you can see his orange teeth.

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Next I drove to Los Poblanos, followed Joe’s directions, and sure enough there was a Barn Owl roosting right where he described. I was thrilled! This was the first time I’d ever seen one. It made up for not seeing the Pygmy Owl. Well…..mostly… Lol!

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Barn Owl

That brings my life list up to 348 seen and photographed birds!

While I was at Los Poblanos I saw this adorable Guinea singing to its reflection in the window.

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Guinea Fowl

Heading back home I saw lots of Bluebirds about. All three variety – Western, Eastern and Mountain. I love seeing Bluebirds. They make me smile.

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Western Bluebird

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These two male Mountain Bluebirds were fighting over a female

It was a wonderful day/ week. Looking forward to when I can get out again and enjoy this amazing spring-like weather.

Bernardo Wildlife Refuge & San Lorenzo Hike

Yesterday the weather was just beautiful for a January winter day. I just knew I had to take advantage of it. I’ve been wanting to go back to the Bosque del Apache. But the travel distance from my home is 2.5 hours away. When I travel there its a long all day excursion. 

Then I remembered Bernardo Wildlife Refuge. It’s only an hour from my house. It doesn’t have the big ponds like the Bosque del Apache so waterfowl viewing is very limited. But it does have big open cultivated fields. Something the cranes, ducks and geese can’t resist in the winter.

So I headed there yesterday morning early. I had heard the  numbers of cranes and geese were low this year at the Bosque. I can see why. They are all at Bernardo. When I arrived, the cacophony of bird calls was almost deafening. Bernardo is much smaller than the Bosque del Apache as far as open fields. So when birds gather they are tightly packed in and you drive all among them through the fields.

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Sandhill Cranes with the Monzano Mountains in the background

My best guess, I think there were 6,000 Sandhill Cranes at Bernardo. It was awesome!

They were busy feeding in the fields. After working a section, a big group would take flight and move over a few yards and start feeding again.

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Sandhill Cranes moving to the next feeding spot

There was a good number of Snow Geese there as well. My best guess was about 1,000 birds. They were staying in a tight flock. Just as I was almost adjacent to them in my car, something spooked the flock and they all launched. I immediately pulled over for some photo ops. It’s so beautiful to see them in flight.

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Snow Geese

They quickly settled down in about the same spot they started. So I got to sit and enjoy watching them. I noticed a lot of Sandhill Cranes among them as well. Crazy how birds don’t mind being crowded together.

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Sandhill Crane among the Snow Geese

As I approached the far edge of the flock, a train came by next to the field. It scared up a whole flock of Mallards that were feeding next to the Snow Geese. I had no idea they were even there.

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Mallards flying above the flock of Snow Geese

The views there at Bernardo are beautiful. Especially on a lovely winter day like this. 

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Ladron Peak in the background. Sandhill Cranes. Look closely at the right side of the photo and a Red-Tailed Hawk is flying by.

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Sandhill Crane

There were lots of Meadowlarks around. I love their beautiful yellow breasts and their song makes me happy.

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Western Meadowlark

There were a few House Sparrows and an American Kestral hanging out in the sagebrush.

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House Sparrows

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American Kestral

In the distance I noticed something big roosting in one of the large Cottonwood trees near the fields. When I got closer I realized it was a Bald Eagle.  How exciting!  He flew as soon as I got my camera up for a photo. The picture is blurry because he didn’t give me any chance to focus before he disappeared over the tree tops.

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As he flew off he was joined by another adult and a juvenile. Beautiful!

A much more cooperative Red-Tailed Hawk posed nicely for me.

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Red-Tailed Hawk

I decided to go across the highway and see what might be about in the Sagebrush along the Rio Puerco.

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Diversion channel next to the refuge. Sandia Mountains in the distance.

I love the old bridge here at Bernardo. I couldn’t resist photographing it.

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While photographing the bridge I saw something fly by. To my delight it was a Loggerhead Shrike. I love these cool birds!

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Loggerhead Shrike

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Church near Bernardo

The morning was still young and the weather mild. I remembered a hike nearby that I haven’t been to in years. So I headed over to San Lorenzo Canyon. Scarlett was with me and she had been very patient while I was birding. She deserved to have some fun.

So I headed down the highway to Lemitar to get a snack and more water. The road to the canyon is close by.

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Church at Lemitar

While driving up the road to the canyon I had to stop to watch a huge flock of blackbirds. There were so many you almost couldn’t see through them.

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Blackbirds swarming around this donkey

The flock was a variety of Red-Winged Blackbirds, Starlings and Brewer’s Blackbirds.

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Brewer's Blackbird

We finally made it to the canyon. Just before turning into the canyon, there’s this really neat rock formation. My geologist husband said it is an example of an angular unconformity.

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San Lorenzo Canyon is a very wide slot canyon that you can drive through. It has smaller side canyons you can hike into. There are a lot of cool rock formations to see.

Scarlett had a blast exploring. She’d been cooped up in the car for a couple hours.

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Road through San Lorenzo Canyon

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Scarlett loved to scramble up the rock ledges.

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Terminus of the road in the canyon. To continue exploring you have to scramble up this rock formation.

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Scarlett didn’t like being in the bottom of the narrow arroyos. She couldn’t see anything. So she would run up the steep walls then expect me to follow. Too steep for me!

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Can you see Scarlett way up there?

As the day progressed the high thin clouds were getting thicker taking away the beautiful blue skies. It was time to head home anyway.

On the drive out, the change in daylight had created a dramatic feel to the San Mateo Mountains. I thought the contrast between the desert scrub, the low purple-hued hills, the snow-covered mountains and the sky made a beautiful landscape photo.   A breathtaking sight to end a perfect morning enjoying New Mexico’s landscape and wildlife.

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