Hawk Week

Despite the continuing cold weather, this past week has been great for seeing a variety of  hawks.  On two trips to the area around Estancia NM this week, there were lots of Ferruginous Hawks around, a Golden Eagle and Northern Harrier or two, several American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, a couple of Rough-legged Hawks, and (seen by some) a Merlin and Prairie Falcon.

The first trip was last Thursday with the Audubon Thursday Birder group – 26 people in a caravan of 7 cars to places like NM 41, Clements Road, and Akin Farm Road.  During the day, we saw something like 22 Ferruginous Hawks perched on power poles and large irrigation machinery.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

Also present were large flocks of Horned Larks that would flash by and disappear into the short grass.

Horned Lark

Horned Lark

Quite a few pronghorn were out that morning as well, giving us a nice close view.

Pronghorn

Pronghorn

On Saturday, a few of us returned to the same area with an Audubon Weekend Field Trip.  The weather forecast must have dissuaded some folks from coming, although it wasn’t nearly as cold as predicted for the five of us in two cars.  The Ferruginous Hawks were still out and about in numbers,

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

as were the Red-tailed Hawks.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

A special treat for us that day was a pair of Rough-legged Hawks, only the second time I’ve seen that species, and readily identified by their pattern of 3 dark patches.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

It was a bit of a surprise we didn’t see very many American Kestrels as they are usually plentiful, but did manage to spot a couple of them.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

Busy with home maintenance and other delayed priorities, that was pretty much it for my outdoor activities this week.  On a run to the city’s hazardous waste disposal facility to drop off some old fluorescent lights (the product of one of those home maintenance activities of replacing the lights in the kitchen), however, I happened to spot this little guy all puffed out in a nest box soaking up the warm sun.

Western Screech-Owl

Western Screech-Owl

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen any owls, let alone a Western Screech-Owl, so it was quite exciting to see one again.  Time to start looking around for old Cooper’s Hawk nests and see if we can’t track down some of the Great Horned Owls that should start nesting any day now.

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About joeschelling

Birding, butterflies, nature photography, and travel blog from right here in Albuquerque New Mexico.
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2 Responses to Hawk Week

  1. Rebecca Gracey says:

    It’s hard to pick my favorite photograph, especially when the screen-owl looked so cute, but I loved the scene with the Pronghorns in it. It was majestic.

  2. Johnna says:

    Great screech owl. At Mom’s last week we found the screech tape and got to laughing about making in it. Probably late 1980s when I copied it from album to cassette so Dad could copy it to Mini-bird-player. Funny part was how the cat (Stanley) went “total pancake” when he heard the owl. So funny we had to torture him one more time. Bad cat mommy! Total animal instinct to get invisible!

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