Skip to content

Daddy and Daughter’s day.

03/05/2013

Despite the fact that I’m a stay at home dad, I don’t get much time alone with my daughter with us having baby brother around.  So on Sunday I woke her up and took her out for pancakes and a hike in the Bosque.  We had quite the morning before even getting to the restaurant.  First off there were more hot air balloons out than we’ve seen in weeks.  We counted a dozen just across the road from our house and we got to see some landing in the scrub.  And once we were in the car we saw a Stars and Stripes balloon landing behind a hill that was sort of in the direction that we wanted to go.  So we took a detour, but didn’t see it anywhere.  But then I noticed a gondola in the parking lot of our local ice rink.  So we drove up and watched them packing up the balloon for a few minutes.

We got back on our way and then I noticed 2 large birds sitting in a tree in one of the business districts of Rio Rancho.  So we did a u-turn and parked to see 2 accipters that may have been building, or inspecting, a nest.

Cooper's Hawks checking out a nest, Rio Rancho NM

Cooper’s Hawks checking out a nest, Rio Rancho NM

Coopers's Hawk and nest, Rio Rancho NM

Coopers’s Hawk and nest, Rio Rancho NM

We got back into the van and finally made it to breakfast and had some really good pancakes and I had some chili and cheese smothered hashbrowns.

Next up was the Corrales Bosque.  I’ve been going there pretty often since I discovered the spot on the Great Backyard Bird Count in December.  There’s an assortment of feeders in a yard which attracts a lot of different birds.  Plus there are some bridges over the ditches that are fun for my daughter to run over.  Grumpy Old Troll and Doormouse always seem to show up and ask some riddles and quizzes too.

My daughter running after me on the Bosque Trail, Corrales NM

My daughter running after me on the Bosque Trail, Corrales NM

 

We saw a lot of birds fly out of the thicker shrubs and trees a bit down the trail and formed some flocks and flew off.

Flock of birds, Corrales NM

I soon saw the reason for all of the commotion, a Cooper’s Hawk had flown into the area.  I snuck up on it and saw the hawk looking for something to eat.  Then it flew off into the thicker trees and we lost sight of it.

Cooper's Hawk looking for lunch.

Cooper’s Hawk looking for lunch.

 

Cooper's Hawk flying after a small bird, maybe a Dark Eyed Junco, Corrales NM

Cooper’s Hawk flying after a small bird, maybe a Dark Eyed Junco, Corrales NM

 

We walked a bit further down the trail and then heard a splash in the water and I saw the hawk sitting there on the edge of the stream.  It was there for a minute or 2 and then flew off and I noticed a small bird in it’s talons.  It was holding the bird under the water and maybe was drowning it.  I know that some big cats will hold prey under water to kill them, but I never heard of a hawk doing this.

This Cooper's Hawk is drowning a small bird in the ditch water.  We saw it fly off holding a small dark bird and you can sort of make it out in it's talons.

This Cooper’s Hawk is drowning a small bird in the ditch water. We saw it fly off holding a small dark bird and you can sort of make it out in it’s talons.

 

My daughter suggested that we hike to the river instead of further down the ditch, so we cut into the woods and wound up at a large sandy area that is part of the Rio Grande when there is enough water.  But now it’s sort of a boring beach with a stand of taller trees and grass and jagger bushes that would make an island sometimes.  I noticed a dark shape in some trees across the river and brought up my binoculars to see an adult Bald Eagle sitting on a snag.  It was on the Sandia Pueblo side of the river.  I thought that if we followed the sandy strip south that we could get to the river and closer to the Eagle.

Bald Eagle at Rio Grande, Sandia Pueblo NM

Bald Eagle at Rio Grande, Sandia Pueblo NM

Well, this turned out to be  bad idea.  The sand was deep and really hard for my daughter to walk in.  And when we finally did make it to the river, we were as far South from the Eagle as we were north when we started.  We did get to see some a porcupine walking along the ground.  Normally they are up in a tree sleeping or eating.  We kept our distance since this was odd (to me) behavior.  But it didn’t matter because it was making good speed away from us.

Porcupine near Rio Grande, Corrales NM

Porcupine near Rio Grande, Corrales NM

My daughter spotted the shell of a Cicada hanging onto a branch from last Summer, there ended up being 2 of them near each other.

Cicada husk holding a branch.  From last year, Corrales NM

Cicada husk holding a branch. From last year, Corrales NM

 

Despite not getting closer to the Bald Eagle, we got to see some Sandhill Cranes, Mallards and lots of Common Mergansers on the river.

Birds on the Rio Grande, Corrales NM.

Birds on the Rio Grande, Corrales NM.

 

Despite walking too far trying to see that Eagle, and both of us getting bloody trying some shortcuts, we had a good morning.  I do miss hanging out with just my daughter.  She’s really fun to take out and into the woods and is a budding naturalist.  And someday I’ll be chasing the both of them around.

Female Common Merganser taking off from the Rio Grande, Corrales NM

Female Common Merganser taking off from the Rio Grande, Corrales NM

Soon we’ll be like this Merganser and taking off from New Mexico for a bit.  My wife’s job is sending her on some extended assignments, and the family is going along with her of course.  We’ll be spending the winter in Chandler Arizona and next Spring in Portland Oregon before going to Ireland for a year or two.  I can’t wait to share all of the sights and experiences that are in store for us.

cheers!

 

 

 

Advertisements

From → birding

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: