This morning, I got up early and checked out Ojito de San Antonio Open Space on the east side of the Sandias just north of the freeway. A little early, cool, and breezy, so it wasn’t too birdy except in the apple orchard which was busy with Cassin’s Finches, Downy Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, and White-breasted Nuthatches, the finches especially busy munching on the new leaf buds.
Compared to the house finches that swarm the feeders around my house, these guys are distinctly different with that bright raspberry red head. Also of note there this morning were lots of dwarf lousewort, one of the earliest spring wildflowers in these mountains.
After that, I headed back to down to check in with the nesting Great Horned Owls. The one near the Open Space Visitor Center is acting much like she did last week and doesn’t appear to have any owlets yet. Back to the Rio Grande Nature Center, that one is still sitting all fluffed up but I still haven’t seen the little ones that supposedly hatched about a week ago. Highlight of the day, though, was hearing the male owl calling off to the southeast of the nest, and when I went to investigate, I found him by tracking down all the other smaller birds that were agitated by his presence and making a lot of noise. Was only able to grab one quick picture of him before he sailed away deeper into the woods. Picture’s kind of fuzzy, but here he is.