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!)