Owl Status Update

After seeing that nearly-fledged Great Horned Owl nesting in a saguaro cactus near Tucson last week, it seemed a good idea to check on progress for the four nests here in Albuquerque. On Friday, I checked out things for the one near Pueblo Montano and the one near the Alameda Bridge. Mom was still sitting alertly on the nests at both, but no evidence of anybody hatched yet. The following Monday, it was downtown to check on the one at Rio Grande Valley State Park and the one further south near Tingley Beach. Things didn’t look good at the first one, which has apparently been abandoned sometime since my last visit on March 24. But at Tingley I’m thinking things are about to start happening. Mom was sitting on the nest as usual,

Great Horned Owl - female

Great Horned Owl – female

but this time I spotted Dad hanging out in a tree close to the nest,

Great Horned Owl - male

Great Horned Owl – male

leading me to think maybe they’ve got little ones to protect now. Will definitely have to visit again sometime next week and see if I can spot them. That nest is pretty high up in the tree, so it may be awhile before anybody can verify what’s happening. Also good to see that day was the return of the Green Heron that hangs out in the Tingley Ponds all summer.

Green Heron

Green Heron

As long as I was in the area last Friday, I thought I’d try to find a Burrowing Owl my friend Steve had told me about earlier this month. Although the area it had been seen in was quite large and the bird could’ve been just about anywhere in all that good habitat, luckily I spotted it pretty quickly in a narrow arroyo close to where I’d parked.

Burrowing Owl - Black Arroyo

Burrowing Owl – Black Arroyo

That got me thinking it’d be a good idea to check out an area we’d seen some last year near the intersection of Richland Hills and Paseo del Norte. It didn’t take long there, either, to spot a pair close to where they’d been before.

Burrowing Owl - Richland Hills

Burrowing Owl – Richland Hills

There may have been more, but knowing these to be a little sensitive to people I left before I scared them off and without looking around much more.

The Audubon Thursday Birder trip to Corrales last week spotted a good number of species on a remarkably nice day. Lots of goldfinches, some Cedar Waxwings, an unusual Gray Flycatcher on its migration to the moutains, both Eastern and Western Bluebirds, a Cooper’s Hawk, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers were among the 40+ species that day.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Saturday it was off to Embudito and a couple of spots in the east mountains to see if any more butterflies have started flying. After wondering why we hadn’t heard any Cactus Wrens on the walk into Embudito one started calling from a nearby cholla, so it looks like they’re still around and hopefully will start nesting again soon. In all of the pictures I took of this guy, you can see a couple of cholla spines sticking in its back.  I’ve always wondered how they manage to spend so much time on those cactus without getting poked, but guess it’s inevitable.

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Only a couple of butterflies around there, with it being so dry and nothing quite in bloom yet, but we did track down a Sandia Hairstreak.

Sandia Hairstreak (Callophrys mcfarlandi)

Sandia Hairstreak (Callophrys mcfarlandi)

Things got better butterfly-wise in Hondo Canyon and on the Bill Spring trail near the Doc Long Picnic Area. Not quite as many Hoary Commas and none of the Satyr Commas or California Tortoiseshells seen a couple of weeks ago, but still plenty of Mourning Cloaks, a couple of Spring Whites and Rocky Mountain Duskwings, a Thicket Hairstreak, and a good number of Southwestern Orangetips.

Southwestern Orangetip (Anthocharis thoosa)

Southwestern Orangetip (Anthocharis thoosa)

Lots of wind the last few days and now a cold front blowing in, but hopefully we’ll catch a break in the coming week with warmer temperatures and less of that wind.


About joeschelling

Birding, butterflies, nature photography, and travel blog from right here in Albuquerque New Mexico.
This entry was posted in Birding, Butterfly, Photographs. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Owl Status Update

  1. Mike Powell says:

    I really like all of the photos, but especially those of the burrowing owls. I too was happy to see the return of a Green Heron to my area. There are supposed to be some barred owls around here, but I haven’t been able to find any yet.

  2. Rebecca Gracey says:

    That was a great shot of the two Burrowing Owls, one barely peaking out from the burrow. The butterfly pictures added some nice color to an environment that is still pretty drab. The first small green leaves are captured in nearly all of your pictures.

  3. pcallen says:

    Great photos as usual Joe, the butterflies are so hard to catch sitting still, I appreciate the close ups! We have an active little bird in the yard the past few weeks, I think its a grey gnatcatcher, but I haven’t been able to photograph it yet.

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