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Palm Warbler is a Rare Bird!

05/20/2013

What a busy week for me.  I managed to get out birding a few times in between lots of family activities and playoff hockey. I missed my usual Saturday bird walk at Rio Grande Nature Center and went on Sunday instead.  And I’m glad that I did because we got to see a Palm Warbler, which is a very rare bird for Albuquerque.  I also set another one day record on Sunday with 59 species at the Nature Center, and 100 for the month of May alone, and it isn’t done yet.

But here’s the Palm Warbler from the RGNC.  It was in some fairly dark trees and wouldn’t sit very still for a photo.

Palm Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

Palm Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

Palm Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

Palm Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

What is amazing to me is how the 2 groups out that day saw it at the same time, when our paths crossed by the pond (but it was my group that ID’d it!).  And that we weren’t done with our walk before people were coming in from all over Albuquerque to try and see it.  I don’t know who spread the word, but it wasn’t me.  But neat to see the birding network in action.

Earlier in the week I went out to the foothills to try and see some Cactus and/or Canyon Wrens.  But all I saw was a Western Scrub-Jay.  Still a neat bird, but I was disappointed in how unbirdy the area was.

Western Scrub-Jay, Sandia Foothills NM

Western Scrub-Jay, Sandia Foothills NM

Western Scrub-Jay, Sandia Foothills NM

Western Scrub-Jay, Sandia Foothills NM

But I did see some Bison on the Sandia Pueblo near the casino.

Bison, Sandia Pueblo NM

Bison, Sandia Pueblo NM

And I took my daughter over to check on the Great-Horned Owl nest at the nearby school.  We only saw 2 chicks and the mom again, but the chicks are looking older all of the time.

Great Horned Owlets, Rio Rancho NM

Great Horned Owlets, Rio Rancho NM

And here’s a good idea of what their “nest” looks like, the mom is usually in a recess above the pillar on the right.

Great Horned Owlets, Rio Rancho NM

Great Horned Owlets, Rio Rancho NM

And right after we left the school we saw a Roadrunner fun across the road in front of us.  And then this one was coming back the other way.  It’s good to see it looking for cars.

Greater Roadrunner, Rio Rancho NM

Greater Roadrunner, Rio Rancho NM

And if you look closer at the first one that crossed, you can see a lizard in it’s beak!  I’m thinking that since there were 2 Roadrunners so close by one another, and one had food, that maybe there’s a nest near there.  I’m going to go over and check it out the next chance that I get.

Greater Roadrunner and Lizard, Rio Rancho NM

Greater Roadrunner and Lizard, Rio Rancho NM

Which brings us back to Sunday and the Nature Center bird walk.  There were lots of interesting birds about that were eclipsed by the Palm Warbler.  We saw lots and lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  But I also saw Yellow, MacGivillvray’s, Wilson’s and a Black-and-White Warbler.  But the light was horrible. It was over-cast and actually rained for almost 10 minutes at one point.

MacGillivray's Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

MacGillivray’s Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

Yellow Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

Yellow Warbler, RGNC ABQ NM

This Cooper’s Hawk landed right behind us on the trail, and it appeared to actually be going after a rabbit.  I saw one run away after the hawk flew off in frustration.

Cooper's Hawk, RGNC ABQ NM

Cooper’s Hawk, RGNC ABQ NM

 

Cooper's Hawk, RGNC ABQ NM

Cooper’s Hawk, RGNC ABQ NM

And right after the Cooper’s Hawk flew, I showed the group the Hummingbird nest that we saw the previous week.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird on nest, RGNC ABQ NM

Black-Chinned Hummingbird on nest, RGNC ABQ NM

 

We also saw a turtle walking down one of the paths.  The shell had some really old, but really major damage at one point.  But it was up and moving fine.  Lots of people don’t know that turtles don’t die of natural causes. There are turtles around that were given to zoos by Charles Darwin himself.

Turtle, RGNC ABQ NM

Turtle, RGNC ABQ NM

Lots of flycatchers were out.  We saw an Olive-sided, Ash-Throated, Western Kingbird, Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe and Western Wood Peewee.

Ash-Throated Flycatcher, RGNC ABQ NM

Ash-Throated Flycatcher, RGNC ABQ NM

Western Wood Peewee, RGNC ABQ NM

Western Wood Peewee, RGNC ABQ NM

Say's Phoebe, Rio Rancho NM

Say’s Phoebe, Rio Rancho NM

And a Blue Grosbeak was seen far out in the field.

Blue Grosbeak, RGNC ABQ NM

Blue Grosbeak, RGNC ABQ NM

As I was walking around by myself, someone said that there was a Northern Waterthrush in front of the viewing windows inside of the visitor’s center.  I went in and it was gone.  But we got to see the Western Wood Peewee again, and the Yellow Warbler, some Brown-Headed Cowbirds and some Red-Winged Blackbirds.  But then the Waterthrush came hopping back into view.

Northern Waterthrush, RGNC ABQ NM

Northern Waterthrush, RGNC ABQ NM

Before I left the Nature Center I wanted to see the Kestrels that supposedly had a nest in a broken off tree near the visitor’s center.  I was standing there waiting when I heard quite the racket coming from somewhere.  I then noticed a Downy Woodpecker fly onto a tree limb above me.

Downy Woodpecker, RGNC ABQ NM

Downy Woodpecker, RGNC ABQ NM

And then I watched it fly over to the tree where the Kestrel nest supposedly was.  He landed at a smaller hole a few feet from the top and the chirping rose to a roar.  There was a woodpecker nest in the same tree!

Downy Woodpecker at Nest cavity, RGNC ABQ NM

Downy Woodpecker at Nest cavity, RGNC ABQ NM

I was amazed to be seeing this.  And then the dad flew off and mom came in to take her turn feeding the young.  I have no idea how many chicks were in there, but they looked big and hungry.

Downy Woodpecker feeding young, RGNC ABQ NM

Downy Woodpecker feeding young, RGNC ABQ NM

And the dad flew back in again shortly after the mom left.  But I never did see any Kestrels.  Maybe their neighbors were too loud and they found someplace quieter.

Thanks for making it this far.  I’m down to less than 50 birds for my NM Guidebook challenge.  But they are all hard birds, most of which I’ve never seen before.  I’m planning a trip to the Jemez mountains in early June and another trip down south at some point.  And it looks like I’ll be upgrading my camera body.  If anyone wants a T2i and a few lenses, let me know.
Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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