More Fall Arrivals

With Fall well and truly underway around here, a few more birds have started showing up and the last of the butterflies for the season are still flying. For the last several weeks, the number of Sandhill Cranes flying in have been growing at an exponential rate. On Friday morning  with some friends out birding at Valle de Oro NWR, we estimated seeing more than a thousand fly over, with several hundred in the fields and hundreds more flying high in the sky.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Their numbers will only increase over the next few weeks and should make for another excellent Festival of the Cranes down at Bosque del Apache NWR, which runs from November 19-24.

Yesterday at Tingley Ponds there were a couple of species of ducks that weren’t present a week ago, including the Redhead

Redhead

Redhead

and Canvasback (shown below with a few American Wigeon that are also new arrivals this season).

Canvasback

Canvasback

That same morning, I noticed several bright green grasshoppers around, which are unusual in that most of ours seem more cryptic brown or gray.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

In my last post, I mentioned that the White-crowned Sparrows that hang around all winter have started appearing, and this week there were even a few immatures popping up.

Immature White-crowned Sparrow

Immature White-crowned Sparrow

It’s also been reported this week that the Rosy Finches have returned to Sandia Crest – always a highlight of any winter birding trip to this area.

The Thursday Birders this week picked up a good list of 20 species during the walk at Copper Open Space, including a Cactus Wren and a flock of Scaled Quail, both of which were new for several in the group.

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

As usual, there were quite a few Curve-billed Thrashers also hanging out in the cholla.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Several in the group also got a nice look at a Common Buckeye butterfly at the end of the walk.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

I’ve made several visits to Embudito Canyon this week, and continue to be surprised that there have been no American Snout (Libytheana carinenta) butterflies this year at a time when they were just everywhere last year. Other butterflies are still flying and I had a nice total of ten species in Embudito this morning, including a Queen (#51 for Embudito!)

Queen (Danaus gilippus)

Queen (Danaus gilippus)

and a good number of American Lady.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

This little guy, who I think is a Texas Antelope Squirrel,

Texas Antelope Squirrel

Texas Antelope Squirrel

was interesting to observe in a rocky area of Embudito Canyon where I’ve been seeing Rock Wrens lately. In behavior I’ve never seen before, one of those Rock Wrens came and pecked the squirrel, driving it away from where the birds hang out and forcing it to run to the top of that rock.

Since it seems to have been a little slow for birds recently, it’s good to see that all the winter residents are returning, and should be fun to watch as the butterfly season draws to an end for the year.

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About joeschelling

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

7 Responses to More Fall Arrivals

  1. How fantastic the diversity of wildlife –great pictures and stories!

  2. noir33 says:

    really good stuff here!

  3. Mike Powell says:

    As I try to determine what new species are moving through our area, it’s always enjoyable to see what is going on in another part of the country. I really like the duck photos, especially the striking redhead. How late in the year do you still have butterflies? It’s wonderful to see those gorgeous colors in a season when most of our bright colors are rapidly fading.

  4. Rusha Sams says:

    Love the grasshopper. But, of course, all the pictures are terrific!

  5. steve says:

    No Rosy Finches at Sandia Crest yet. They just have snow. Lots of nice Chickadees and some Cassin’s Finches.

  6. Richard Knottenbelt says:

    Many thanks once again, Joe! Its great to connect to Nature in New Mexico thorough your pics and words

  7. pcallen says:

    Good guess on the ground squirrel, it is an Antelope Ground Squirrel, so called for holding its white bottomed tail up over its back, looking like a white antelope rump.
    Whether its an Ammospermophilus leucurus (White-tailed) or an A. interpres (Texas), I don’t know for sure, but I would guess White-tailed by the range, although Sandia Mt. is at the extreme ends of both species range. Amazing little desert dwellers either way.

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