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Snowy Weekend Birding

12/08/2013

We’ve been in the holiday spirit here lately.  Our tree is up and we’ve been taking the kids out for various holiday activities and I’ve been trying to get some birding in in-between.  It seems like everyone has been out scouting for our Christmas Bird Count this upcoming weekend.  They have been stirring up some good birds and I’ve been trying to see some of them.  On Friday I went out trying to see a Northern Parula and a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker in a local neighborhood.  What I thought was the NOPA was really a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, but I did manage to see the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker.  But none of my photos were even worth posting.
But Saturday morning I went looking for a Pine Warbler at the UNM Duck Ponds.  I got some help to look for it.  It was a really cold day, it’s been below freezing for the last half-week, so we had to really bundle up.

Future Birder Ben, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Future Birder Ben, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

It was my first time at the locally famous Duck Ponds.  We did see some ducks, Mallards and some American Wigeons, in the ponds.  A fountain was doing good duty keeping the ice away.

Ducks, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Ducks, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

And I saw a Northern Flicker hanging onto one of the buildings, something new for me.  Stucco is really awesome stuff.

Northern Flicker, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Northern Flicker, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Lucky for us, we saw someone else with binoculars looking at some pine trees across one of the bridges.  So I picked up my son and carried him over to the area. Sure enough, there was the Pine Warbler mixed in with some Yellow-Rumps, Bushtits and a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.

Pine Warbler, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Pine Warbler, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Pine Warbler, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Pine Warbler, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

Yellow-Rumped Warbler, UNM Duck Pond, ABQ NM

The Pine Warbler also ended up being my 250th bird seen this year, nice way to hit that mark.  Today (Sunday) I was planning on going up to Sandia Crest and spend the day waiting for the Rosy-Finches.  But the weather had other plans.  There were clouds and snow covering the mountain and the road up was too bad to drive on.  So I decided to head to Embudito Canyon to look for Crissal Thrashers and/or Cactus Wrens.  There ended up being lots of snow, but none of those birds were there.

There were lots of Dark-Eyed Juncos, maybe 200. They kept flying down the canyon in groups of a dozen or so, it was beautiful against the snow.

Dark-Eyed Junco, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Dark-Eyed Junco, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

DEJU, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

DEJU, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

And lots of Canyon Towhees were around too.  They didn’t have any problem with the snow, and seemed to always be in pairs.

Canyon Towhee, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Canyon Towhee, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Canyon Towhee, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Canyon Towhee, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

 

This Mourning Dove was so cold that I got to within 5 feet of it before I even saw it, and it never flew, just watched me looking at Juncos.

Mourning Dove, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Mourning Dove, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

I also found a tree full of Bushtits and 1 actually sat still long enough for some photos.

Bushtit, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Bushtit, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

There were no Thrashers or Wrens showing themselves, so I headed back to get warmed up in my car and catch the second half of the Steelers game.  But on my way to the parking lot, I got to watch a Cooper’s Hawk out hunting.

Cooper's Hawk, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

Cooper’s Hawk, Embudito Canyon, ABQ NM

I made one last stop at the Rio Grande before meeting the rest of the family to see Freeze, but nothing notable were there and the light continued to be bad.
Hopefully I get a chance to make it to the Crest this week for Rosy-Finches.  Then Sunday is our CBC and we fly to Pittsburgh shortly after that where I’ll be doing a CBC there, and hopefully seeing  Snowy Owl.

Thats it, thanks for making it this far,

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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