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Birding in Santa Fe

10/12/2013

Today I went to Santa Fe in order to try and get some birds that I needed for my challenge.  I chose 2 spots to visit, the Randall Davey Audubon Center and the Santa Fe Ski Area. I was up early enough to see the Dawn Patrol from the Balloon Fiesta (see my previous post about that) and made it to Santa Fe in time to join the usual Saturday morning bird walk.  It was really, really cold at the start and only 6 or so people were there for the walk.

We saw the usual birds for the area, Juncos, Scrub-Jays, House Finches and a few others.

Spotted Towhee, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Spotted Towhee, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

White-Winged Dove, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

White-Winged Dove, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Cassin's Finch and House Finches, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Cassin’s Finch and House Finches, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Western Scrub-Jay, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Western Scrub-Jay, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

We saw this Black-Billed Magpie inspecting a large tent that was set up for a wedding before it posed on this fence.  I never realized the blue on this awesome looking bird before.

Black-Billed Magpie, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Black-Billed Magpie, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

And I apparently wasted a trip to Melrose Trap to see Red-Naped Sapsuckers last weekend, we say 2 of them today (that fuzzy lump on the right of the tree is number 2).

Red-Naped Sapsuckers, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Red-Naped Sapsuckers, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

A Ruby-Crowned Kinglet was also flitting around in the same tree as the Sapsuckers.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

And nearby was a tree with three Hairy Woodpeckers in the same tree.

Hairy Woodpeckers, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Hairy Woodpeckers, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Hairy Woodpecker, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Hairy Woodpecker, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

And I managed to get two lifers and two challenge birds there.  We saw two Evening Grosbeaks fly into the top of a very big Cottonwood and I only managed this one poor photo.

Evening Grosbeak, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Evening Grosbeak, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

And the other bird was a Clark’s Nutcracker.  There were lots flying overhead, and we even saw a group of 4 at one time, but this was the only one that landed in a tree long enough for a photo.

Clark's Nutcracker, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

Clark’s Nutcracker, Randall Davey Audubon Center, SF NM

I really wanted a better look, and a photo of, a Pygmy Nuthatch, but didn’t get to see any.  After Randall Davey I went further north to the Santa Fe Ski Basin in search of Gray Jays.  This was a bird that I was told frequented there, but I would need to look hard for them.

I pulled into the ski area and saw quite a bit of snow on the runs and around the parking lots.

October Runs, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

October Runs, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

This ended up being very far from the truth.  I saw my first Gray Jay flying into a tree before I even turned my car off.  There ended up being a lot of them flying around the buildings and base of the ski lifts.

Gray Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Gray Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

They were joined by some Steller's Jays, both of which were feeding from a pile of something right by the ticket booth for the one running lift.

They were joined by some Steller’s Jays, both of which were feeding from a pile of something right by the ticket booth for the one running lift.

Gray Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Gray Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

They were joined by some Steller’s Jays, both of which were feeding from a pile of something right by the ticket booth for the one running lift.

Steller's Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Steller’s Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Gray Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Gray Jay, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

And this red squirrel was also doing it’s best to look for some food amid the snow.

Red Squirrel, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Red Squirrel, Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

And the fall colors, as much as we get in NM, were in full swing.

Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

Santa Fe Ski Basin NM

After getting three lifers today, and challenge birds, I’m down to 20 left from the guidebook.  And if you count the ones that I saw outside of New Mexico, I have 11 left, of which I should be able to get half of those.
Thanks for making it this far,

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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