Skip to content

The Most Famous Bird in America

07/13/2013

If you pay attention to birding news, then you will have heard about the very rare Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail spotted at Bosque del Apache NWR this past week.  This may very well be the first recorded sighting of the bird north of Mexico.  I initially wanted to run down there earlier in the week to try and see it, but taking the kids along didn’t sound very fun for me.  Way too much waiting in the Sun for a bird that may not even still be there.  But the reports kept coming, and today I was able to get down there.  I took some friends along and we left Albuquerque this afternoon and got to Socorro around 3:30pm.
After stopping at the visitor’s center we made our way to the boardwalk area where the bird had been seen.  Sure enough the packed parking lot told me that we were in the right place.  We hung out for less than 30 minutes when someone said “there it is!!!”  Sure enough, the Wood-Rail was weaving in and out of the reeds near a Spotted Sandpiper.

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

After sticking close to the reeds, the bird ventured further out looking for some food, like this crawfish.

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

And would eventually crisscross the water going from one side to the other.

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Seeing that bird was a rush, I exchanged many high-fives with the people around me.  And as the call that the bird was in the open went out, more and more people arrived.  I even witnessed a girl who drove out from Texas weeping after she spotted the Wood-Rail.  I was in more of a “let’s get a beer mode!”  But here’s what the boardwalk looked like when the Wood-Rail was out.

Birders watching the Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Birders watching the Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

But there were plenty of other birds to see.  We ended up recording 44 species today, and we didn’t see the Caliope or Rufous Hummingbirds at the visitor’s center.

Here’s the Least Bittern that seems to be a companion to the Wood-Rail.

Least Bittern, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Least Bittern, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

And north of the boardwalk were some Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Phalaropes, American Avocets, Northern Shovelers and maybe some American Wigeons.

Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Below the boardwalk were hundreds of minnows and very tiny catfish

Minnows and Catfish, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Minnows and Catfish, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Nearby was this Black-Headed Grosbeak.

Black-Headed Grosbeak, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Black-Headed Grosbeak, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

We also saw this Collard Lizard, which we don’t get up north in Albuquerque.

Collared Lizard, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Collared Lizard, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

We decided to drive around and see what other birds were at the Refuge.  We had heard of a Carolina Wren at the northern end.  And there were other birds that I needed for my challenge.  Here are some of what we saw.

Wild Turkeys, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Wild Turkeys, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Ring-Necked Pheasant, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Ring-Necked Pheasant, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Neotropic Cormorants, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Neotropic Cormorants, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Yellow-Breasted Chat, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Yellow-Breasted Chat, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Kingbird, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Western Kingbird, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Brown-Headed Cowbird, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Brown-Headed Cowbird, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Blue Grosbeak, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Blue Grosbeak, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Our only hawk (I almost said only raptor, but there were lots of Turkey Vultures) seen at the refuge.

Swainson's Hawk, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Swainson’s Hawk, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Green Heron, Great Blue Heron & Canada Geese, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Green Heron, Great Blue Heron & Canada Geese, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Wilson's Phalaropes, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Sandpipers, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

And the last bird that we spotted at Bosque del Apache was this Gambel’s Quail perched in an odd place.

Gambel's Quail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Gambel’s Quail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

And here’s one last look at the bird of the day, and maybe the year, the Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail.

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Rufous-Necked Wood-Rail, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Thanks to everyone at Bosque del Apache NWR for putting up with all of us addicts, and for leaving out water, bug spray, sunscreen and candy!

Cheers!

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

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: