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September Birds

09/27/2013

I haven’t posted in a long time. I’ve been really busy, too busy to get out much, and too busy to post up.  But tonight my wife is out and the kids are asleep.  So I’m going to post some photos from some recent trips.
My parent’s and some other family were in town for a visit.  I still got a chance to do the Saturday birding hike at the Rio Grande Nature Center (RGNC).   It wasn’t an amazing morning, but I got to see a Townsend’s Warbler, but didn’t get a photo.

There were a pair of Belted Kingfishers hanging out by the big pond.  They would fly around calling at one another and made quite the racket.

Belted Kingfishers (2), RGNC ABQ NM

Belted Kingfishers (2), RGNC ABQ NM

And the group got to see a tree full of Cedar Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwings, RGNC ABQ NM

Cedar Waxwings, RGNC ABQ NM

Two of the Waxwings were immatures and didn’t look like the adults.  While watching the Waxwings a surprise visitor made an appearance, a Grey Catbird flew into the tree near them.

Gray Catbird (top) and Cedar Waxwing (bottom), RGNC ABQ NM

Gray Catbird (top) and Cedar Waxwing (bottom), RGNC ABQ NM

This is the 2nd Gray Catbird that I’ve seen this year, but the first one in New Mexico.  It ended up being the bird of the day for the group.

On Monday I took my visiting family to Jemez Springs and to Valles Caldera.  We were planning on going to Bandelier National Monument, but recent heavy rains flooded the place again and we decided to skip it.  But I got to add some life birds at Valles Caldera.  There were lots of Mountain Bluebirds around the visitor’s center.

Mountain Bluebird, Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird, Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird, Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird, Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird, Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird, Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird (female), Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird (female), Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird (juvenile), Valles Caldera NM

Mountain Bluebird (juvenile), Valles Caldera NM

And two Vesper Sparrows.

Vesper Sparrow, Valles Caldera NM

Vesper Sparrow, Valles Caldera NM

There was also a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Valles Caldera NM

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Valles Caldera NM

And this Hummingbird was buzzing around the feeders that were on the front porch of the visitor’s center.  I never got a good look at it, but I thought that it was a bit large for a Hummingbird.

Hummingbird, Valles Caldera NM

Hummingbird, Valles Caldera NM

My dad turned 60 while he was here.  We took him to the ABQ Botanical Gardens and Aquarium.  Birds weren’t the goal of the visit, but I got to see an Osprey circling the big pond there looking for something to eat.  But it quickly flew off towards the Rio Grande without catching anything.

Osprey, ABQ Biopark NM

Osprey, ABQ Biopark NM

And I saw a couple pairs of ducks.

Wood Ducks and Mallard Ducks, ABQ Biopark NM

Wood Ducks and Mallard Ducks, ABQ Biopark NM

Today I got a day off and decided to go back to the Jemez Mountains and Valles Caldera in the hopes that I could see an American Dipper and maybe some new Woodpeckers.  I had also learned of where I could maybe find some obsidian.  But the weather was lousy.  It was cold, windy and rainy almost all day. I did manage to see lots of birds, but nothing new.  And I also didn’t see any obsidian and I have yet to see Elk up there.  But I did see this Hairy Woodpecker fly across Route 550 and land in a tree.

Hairy Woodpecker, Zia Pueblo NM

Hairy Woodpecker, Zia Pueblo NM

And in Jemez Springs I got to see lots of Robins and a Townsend’s Solitaire, and even a Cooper’s Hawk chasing some birds through the junipers.  This Downy Woodpecker flew in and gave me a good view of it’s head from behind a post.

Downy Woodpecker, Jemez Springs NM

Downy Woodpecker, Jemez Springs NM

Further up NM Route 4 I saw lots of sparrows and Western Bluebirds along the road.  But the rain was coming down pretty good and none of my photos turned out good.  I drove further up NM 4, past Valles Caldera in the hopes that I could find some obsidian.  I didn’t see any and it was really windy, cold and wet.  But I did find lots of birds down a forest road.  Lots of Chickadees, Kinglets, Nuthatches, a Red-Tailed Hawk, Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers and some Stellar’s Jays.

Northern Flicker, Jemez Mountains NM

Northern Flicker, Jemez Mountains NM

Western Bluebird, Jemez Mountains NM

Western Bluebird, Jemez Mountains NM

White-Breasted Nuthatch, Jemez Mountains NM

White-Breasted Nuthatch, Jemez Mountains NM

Stellar's Jay, Jemez Mountains NM

Stellar’s Jay, Jemez Mountains NM

And I’m not too sure what this is, but I’m assuming an Immature Western Bluebird.

Western Bluebird (?), Jemez Mountains NM

Western Bluebird (?), Jemez Mountains NM

This area was very close to burned areas from either this past year or last year.  It was eerie to see the bare trees.  But there were lots of green around and in the burned areas.  So hopefully some more wet years will help bring the areas back.

Jemez Mountains NM

Jemez Mountains NM

Jemez Mountains, NM

Jemez Mountains, NM

and finally on my way home I decided to check out Fenton Lake State Park.  I had seen signs for it, but wasn’t sure what it was.   Turns out it’s a smallish lake in some beautiful mountains.  There were great rock formations above the lake and quite a few people fishing in the rain.  And those people were joined by this Osprey which I saw dive into the lake 2 times.  The second time it was successful and paraded it’s catch in front of everyone getting wet.

Osprey with Catch, Fenton Lake SP, NM

Osprey with Catch, Fenton Lake SP, NM

 

I’m hoping to get out to the RGNC one more time this weekend.  But it’s almost October and who knows when I’ll get back out this fall.  And we’ll be busy with a trip to Pittsburgh for the holidays and then it’s Oregon in February.  But that will be an adventure in itself since we’re driving there through Arizona and California.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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