Friday, February 21, 2014

Bidding Adieu to ABQ

I'm writing this from rainy Portland Oregon.  I'd like to apologize to the 3 people who read this blog that I haven't posted lately, but we finally moved from New Mexico to Oregon and it was very busy for us.  But before we left, I managed to cross a couple of birding items from my list.
The first was that I made a final trip to Bosque del Apache NWR with the Thursday Birders group.  This group is wonderful and I'll miss them and their knowledge and patience to a new birder.  We started the trip taking the back-way through Socorro to San Antonio, ultimately to look for a Barn Owl (dip!) and a continuing Palm Warbler.  We did manage to see a nice female Vermilion Flycatcher.

Vermilion Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatcher - Socorro NM

And some nice Savannah Sparrows
Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow - San Antonio NM

And the Palm Warbler was right where it was supposed to be, which was way out in the field. 

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler - San Antonio NM

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler - San Antonio NM

We made to Bosque del Apache without anything else too exciting.  I noticed some other cars in the group at the first turn-off, which we weren't planning on stopping at, and wondered what was going on.  It would turn out that no less than 5 Bald Eagles were visible.  I managed to see 4 of them, including this one out across the water.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle - Bosque del Apache NWR
And this other one in a tree with a Raven and Red-Tailed Hawk

Three's Company
From left to right: Common Raven, Bald Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawk - Bosque del Apache NWR
But it got even better.  As we were watching the Bald Eagles, 2 more large birds came into the area, a couple of Golden Eagles.  This was the same spot that I got my lifer Goldens a few months prior. 

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle - Bosque del Apache NWR
One of them even landed by one of the Bald Eagles to see what it was eating, looked like a Sandhill Crane, but took off a few moments later.

Eagles at Bosque del Apache
Bald Eagle (left on ground), Common Ravens and Golden Eagle (flying away on right) with Northern Pintails in foreground - Bosque del Apache NWR
At the visitor's center I managed to get a lifer Brewer's Sparrow, which was sitting near the feeders.

Brewer's Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow - Bosque del Apache NWR
The one other thing that I wanted to do before I left New Mexico was to see a Crissal Thrasher.  I had been trying to see one for a solid year.  I made over a dozen trips to the areas of Albuquerque where they were known to be, and the few spots that ebird had them reported this year. But I never had any luck.  I even think that I saw one last year in Embuditio Canyon, but the light was horrible, the Sun had just set, and I was never 100% sure that it wasn't a Curve-Billed Thrasher.  But someone was seeing CRTH in Embudo Canyon regularly and I got directions.  I had one last chance to go there and see one and I took it, just 2 days before we were moving.  I got there early and hustled uphill.  I ended up going higher than I had before and sure enough, the first bird that I see is a beautiful Crissal Thrasher soaking up the first rays of the Sun and singing it's pretty little head off.

Crissal Thrasher
Crissal Thrasher - Embudo Canyon ABQ NM
Crissal Thrasher
Crissal Thrasher - Embudo Canyon ABQ NM

I saw the Thasher so easily, that I had enough time to drive down to the Rio Grande Nature Center for one final morning bird walk.  This is another great opportunity for a new birder to learn some things about birds, or for a visitor to see a nice assortment of local birds in a short time.  The highlight of the walk, where we happily had 35 species, very good for January, were these to Sparrows showing off their differences.

Sparrows: White-Crowned and White-Throated
Left: White-Crowned Sparrow, right: White-Throated Sparrow - RGNC ABQ NM
So that's it for me and New Mexico.  I have some nice photos from our time in California which I'll put up next. And I've just begun to see all of the birds in my new neighborhood.  

Thanks for making it this far,


1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve,

    Welcome to the Portland area! I hope you enjoyed your walk at Tualatin Hills Nature Park on Saturday and saw some good birds.

    Michael, at the front desk in the nature center