Well, it has been a long time since I've managed to get out and bird, but I finally got to do it this Saturday. A couple friends of mine, Christopher Rustay and Wyatt Egelhoff, came up from Albuquerque and Santa Fe, respectively, and we went on a "northeast lakes tour" of northeastern NM.
We started at Wagon Mound and worked our way up to Springer Lake, where we saw some Baird's and Least Sandpipers. There was not much bird life other than that, so we moved on to Maxwell NWR, in Colfax county, a bit north of Springer. There, we also got great looks at Baird's and Western Sandpipers and saw an odd-looking Red-necked Phalarope. Around this point, we decided that our stomachs were feeling a bit empty, so we stopped at a Subway before continuing back south. Me, being a ravanous teenager, got a foot-long and ate it in about 5 minutes. Christopher and Wyatt were a bit better, and got smaller subs.
By far, the highlight of the day was when we dropped by the Charette Lakes north of Wagon Mound. At first, there did not appear to be many birds on the lake (although plenty of people), but then we found a large flock of Aechmophorus grebes near the middle of the lake. As I was scanning behind this flock with my scope, I saw a medium-sized waterbird with a rather pale head and neck and dark back. My first thought was that it was a loon, so I mentioned this to Christopher and Wyatt. Christopher took one look at it and then got rather excited, and repeated my thoughts: that the bird was not a Common Loon. After studying the bird for a while, he came to the conclusion of Pacific Loon. I was pretty excited at this point, not just because it was a state and year bird for me, but because I had actually found it.
We got several more looks (both of which were not fantastic but enough to confirm the identity of the loon) before returning to Las Vegas.
I can only say that, while we only saw about 40 species, the company (and the loon) made it more than worthwhile. If you're reading this, Christopher and Wyatt, thanks for a great trip!
Good Birding my friends!
~Bird Nut (Cassidy Ruge)
P.S. I say this every time I post on here and this time I hope I keep to my word a bit better! - I will try and post more often and make my posts more interesting (and with more pictures!)
Apr 11, 2012
This past weekend (starting on April 5) I was in southeast Arizona with my dad for Easter Break. We birded in Portal, Bosque del Apache NWR, and hotspots near Tucson and saw 107 species of birds.
|Bosque del Apache|
We left Las Vegas, NM Thursday morning and worked our way down to Portal, stopping at Bosque del Apache NWR along the way. We saw a good 40 species at Bosque, including five species of swallows and a Surf Scoter (reported earlier that week). We got to our campsite (in Sunny Flat Campground) at around 10:30pm and quickly set up our tent and went to sleep.
The next morning we got up relatively early (6:30am) and walked down South Fork (which was within a 1/4 mile of the campground). At first it was very quiet, but once the sun started hitting the trees (which took a while), the birds started to get much more active. We heard and saw many Painted Redstarts and Black-throated Gray Warblers and came across numerous flocks of Bridled Titmice and Mexican Jays. One of the highlights of the walk was a Dusky-capped Flycatcher (a new birds for the U.S. for me), which I first heard calling from an Arizona Sycamore. I was unfamiliar with the call at the time and only realized the identity of the bird once I looked it up back at the campsite. After birding South Fork for a few hours, we took a short nap and then got on our bikes and biked down to the Portal Store. There we saw some Inca Doves and numerous House Sparrows. On our way up to our campsite, we came across a Northern Pgymy-Owl, which apparently had gotten very indignant after my dad attempted to imitate its call (in an attempt to lure in a Dusky-capped Flycatcher that we we looking at). When I first heard the characteristic "TOO-TOO-TOO-TOO" I thought it was another birder trying to fool me. However, after listening to the call for a while, (and failing to see any humans in the proximity), I realized that it must be an actual pygmy-owl. True enough, a roundish, small bird suddenly appeared in a tree above our heads. It was a pygmy-owl, alright. And it was still not very pleased with the intrusion of (seemingly), another pygmy-owl. It repeatedly called, until my dad I finally left in peace, but not before we managed to get dozens of close-up pictures.
After getting back to the campsite, we headed down to Cave Creek Ranch and took pictures of various birds while sitting on a bench outside one the the buildings. Here are some of the pictures we took:
|Mating Curve-billed Thrashers|
After birding around Portal and Cave Creek Canyon for two days, we headed to Tucson, where we stayed the remainder of our time, until our return home on April 9th. We birded Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson (where we saw a roosting Great Horned Owl and a bathing Cooper's Hawk) and also went to Madera Canyon.
|Great Horned Owl|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow|
Mar 28, 2012
- ▼ 2012 (3)