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Busy weeks

05/05/2013

So lots have happened here in Albuquerque.  We finally got dates for our big moves next year.  My wife works for a small tech company in Rio Rancho and they want her to visit some other fabs starting next year.  In January the family will be moving to Portland Oregon for a few months and then in April of next year will be going to Ireland for 18 months or more.  It’s going to be amazing for the kids, and I may be excited too.   So there has been lots of discussions and some planning on what to do.  

I also sold my Bigma lens.  It was my workhorse lens, but I was never too happy with it.  So I finally talked my wife around to letting me get a Canon 100-400L.  So far so good, I really like it.  The IS really helps and the auto-focus is amazing.  I spent an entire weekend without a long lens and it was tough.  And I upgraded binoculars to some serious birding binoculars, some Eagle Optics Ranger 10x42s.  Again, wow, what an improvement over my Nikons.  But back to some birds.

I’m currently sitting here watch a couple of Scaled Quail in the backyard.  They just showed up this past week, along with the first Black-Chinned Hummingbirds of the year.  They are outside bother the pigeons, which is ok in my book.  But last Wednesday we got a tip about a family of owls at the local High School. I was a bit skeptical, but decided to check it out on our way home.  And to my pleasant surprise there was in fact a large family of Great-Horned Owls living at the performing arts center’s box office roof.  A mama owl and 3 owlets were up in the anti-bird spikes.

Momma Owl and 2 owlets.

Mama Owl and 2 owlets.

Owlet number 3

Owlet number 3

And right nearby in a tree was papa owl keeping an eye on everything.

Papa Owl watching the nest

Papa Owl watching the nest

I took a friend by there on Friday, but we could only see the mom, one owlet and no daddy owl.  But it was much colder than our previous trip, and hopefully all are well.

 

Then last Thursday I decided to go take the kids along on the Central New Mexico Audubon Society Thursday birder trip to Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe.  This idea sounded good at the time, but ended up being very neutral as far as days go.  

It was my first time there and was a beautiful place.  One of the first birds that we saw was a new bird for me, a Broad-Tailed Hummingbird.  We had some friends along and got there later than the group and were trying to play catch-up.  We spotted the group across the valley walking away from us.  So we were hurrying down to follow them when my daughter tripped on a gravel road and fell… on her face.  She had the smallest of abrasions on her hand and knee, but her face was a mess.  I had a meager first aid kit (I forgot about the better stocked version in the back of the van) and did my best to clean her up, but it was nasty.  We ended up hanging out near the visitor’s center in the nice soft grass while we waited for the group to get back.  She didn’t have anything broken and was in pretty good spirits, not to mention running around again shortly after.  But wow does it still look bad.  But despite not venturing very far, we managed to see some good birds.

Pine Siskins, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Pine Siskins, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Black-Headed Grosbeak

Black-Headed Grosbeak

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Red-Tailed Hawk, one of 2 that were flying over head together.

Red-Tailed Hawk, one of 2 that were flying over head together.

Black-Billed Magpie

Black-Billed Magpie

But due to having 2 kids, one injured and one becoming independent and cranky, I didn’t get any good photos of Hummingbirds.  But I have been knocking out birds for my challenge.  Scaled Quail (nice to get one from through the kitchen window), Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds, Black-Headed Grosbeaks, Canyon Towhee, Black-Billed Magpie, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, and lots of water birds.  I’m down to less than 50 birds to go, but lots of challenging ones, and no Cedar Waxwings yet!

I made 2 trips to the Belen, aka Taco Bell, Marsh in the past couple weeks that were very rewarding, but for different reasons.  I’m going to write up a post tomorrow specifically about it along with a ton of great photos.  I’ll leave a teaser here.

Black-Necked Stilt, Belen Marsh, NM

Black-Necked Stilt, Belen Marsh, NM

Thanks for making it this far!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From → birding

3 Comments
  1. And, whoa, that lens is working for you! These pictures look way better than most I’ve seen of yours with the old one – that’s got to be fun.

    • steve permalink

      Thanks Joe, or should I be offended? Just kidding, I like posting everything that I see, no matter the quality.

  2. Great job on the owls! There are a lot of them around here, but you rarely see them.

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