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My Big Month and Weekend Update

06/02/2013

As May came to a close I ended up with 122 birds on my list, according to ebird.  That includes some rarities, Cassin’s Kingbird, Palm Warbler and the Bobolink, and a trip to Arizona.  But I only added 4 or 5 new birds there.  Spring migration at the Rio Grande Nature Center was really good to me I guess;  there were 2 weeks in a row when I had over 50 species each time.

Thursday I took the kids to Whitfield Nature Preserve in Belen for the CNMAS Thursday birder trip.  We got there late and missed the first part of the walk.  But had a really nice time there.  It’s a nice place that is easy to walk around in (only one path circles the place), but you can see all sorts of nature in the one area.  I didn’t carry my camera because I had my son in a backpack, so no photos.  But we did see a Common Nighthawk flying around in the middle of the day, which was a bird that I needed for my challenge.  But a neat bird to see regardless.

On the way home from Belen a few of us stopped at Price’s Dairy/Valle de Oro to try and see the Bobolinks.   There was a nice sized flock of White-faced Ibises there, sixty-nine, that got spooked and would fly up and a bit further away from the ditch from us.

White-faced Ibises, Valle De Oro NWR, ABQ NM

White-faced Ibises, Valle De Oro NWR, ABQ NM

White-faced Ibises, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

White-faced Ibises, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

And here is one of the many Cattle Egrets that was flying around.

Cattle Egret, Valle De Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Cattle Egret, Valle De Oro NWR, ABQ NM

And we did see 2 Bobolinks, a female and this male that was hawking way out in the field.

Bobolink on fence, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Bobolink on fence, Valle de Oro NWR, ABQ NM

Friday I ended May at the Tingley Beach Bosque at dusk looking for a Brown Thrasher that a friend of mine had seen there earlier in the day.  We ended up not seeing it, but had a nice time anyway.  This is one of 3 Downy nests that we found in the Bosque.  We saw a Northern Flicker nest too, but it was too dark for photos.

Downy Woodpecker at nest, Tingley Bosque ABQ NM

Downy Woodpecker at nest, Tingley Bosque ABQ NM

Here’s one of 3 Blue Grosbeaks that were in the Bosque

Blue Grosbeak, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Blue Grosbeak, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

While looking for a Great Horned Owl nest I noticed a flash of red.  It was a Summer Tanager way up in a tree.  And when I looked closer there was a Northern Flicker next to it.

Summer Tanager & Northern Flicker, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Summer Tanager & Northern Flicker, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

The Flicker hopped out away from the Tanager and then just sat there and they looked to be ignoring one another.

Northern Flicker & Summer Tanager, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Northern Flicker & Summer Tanager, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Shortly after I noticed a pair of Summer Tanagers up in a Cottonwood.  The male wanted some attention from the female, but she wasn’t interested and ended up flying off on her own.

Summer Tanagers, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Summer Tanagers, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

We spotted little flycatchers all around the Bosque.  They are really hard to tell apart, but I’m pretty sure that this is a Dusky Flycatcher.

Dusky Flycatcher (maybe), Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Dusky Flycatcher (maybe), Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

We ended the night at one of the ponds.  I saw my first Green Heron of the year and first Common Yellowthroat.  Plus some baby Mallards and baby Pied-Billed Grebes.  All after it was pretty dark.  We did get a good look at the planetary conjunction over one of the ponds.  Here’s Mercury, Venus and Jupiter lined up.  This was shot handheld with the 7D and 100-400L.

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in a line, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in a line, Tingley Bosque, ABQ NM

I spent Saturday at the Nature Center in the morning and the foothills in the afternoon.  You can tell that migration is waning because we only saw 2 warblers and a total of 35 species.  But someone spotted a Swift flying around with the Swallows over the ponds and consensus decided that it was a Vaux’s Swift, a life bird for me.  But I haven’t mastered the art of photographing those crazy birds in flight yet.  But a Black-Crowned Night Heron was standing out in the pond right in the open.

Black-Crowned Night Heron, RGNC ABQ NM

Black-Crowned Night Heron, RGNC ABQ NM

And a mama Wood Duck was out with her ducklings.

Wood Ducks, RGNC, ABQ NM

Wood Ducks, RGNC, ABQ NM

We saw a Greater Roadrunner passing by with some sort of reptile in it’s beak.  I think that it was a lizard, but some people thought that it was a frog.

Greater Roadrunner, RGNC, ABQ NM

Greater Roadrunner, RGNC, ABQ NM

Ash-Throated Flycatcher, RGNC, ABQ NM

Ash-Throated Flycatcher, RGNC, ABQ NM

Black-Headed Grosbeak, RGNC, ABQ NM

Black-Headed Grosbeak, RGNC, ABQ NM

Reptile wise, I saw a Painted Turtle laying some eggs near the big pond.

Painted Turtle, RGNC, ABQ NM

Painted Turtle, RGNC, ABQ NM

And a large Woodhouse Toad in the gardens hanging out near some Buffalo Gourds.

Woodhouse Toad, RGNC ABQ NM

Woodhouse Toad, RGNC ABQ NM

After the walk at the Nature Center was over I drove out to the Ellena Gallegos Picnic Area in the foothills to try and see a Scott’s Oriole.  But alas, it was not very birdy.  I mainly saw Western Scrub Jays and Black-Chinned Hummingbirds with the occasional Juniper Titmouse and TV flying overhead.  And no Orioles.  It was so bereft of birds that I didn’t get any photos worth including here. But instead here are some of the other things that you can see around the foothills.

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And here is an unfortunate sign of Summer, an air tanker flying to the Jemez mountains to combat one of the many fires that we have currently burning around New Mexico.  I was hoping to go to Jemez before our trip out East, but that isn’t happening now with the fire there.

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That’s it.  I may not post again until our trip to Pittsburgh and Connecticut later this month.  I’ve been neglecting too many things around the house getting 122 birds in May.

thanks for making it this far,

Cheers.

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