Once again, life has conspired to keep me from updating this blog for way too long, but despite weather flipflops, tax season, computer issues (this boy’s just made the move from Dell and Microsoft to Apple!), and butterfly identification (Brazil list now passing 200 species!), there have been some good sightings the last two weeks and it’s clear Spring is finally on the way (here at least – seems like it’s still pretty much winter back on the east coast).
March 13 the Audubon Thursday Birders drove down to Sevilleta NWR and managed to spot some good birds, although it was a little quiet as it tends to be in this pre-migration season and not quite as good as the scouting trip our leader, Judy, had a few days earlier. New for me was the Brewer’s Sparrow that Rebecca picked up on during our initial stop at the visitor center, just hanging out among all the White-crowned Sparrows.
On the way back, we detoured to the Belen Marsh for a quick stop, seeing a few American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts on the ponds, and two pairs of the Burrowing Owls people had been reporting being seen there already this year.
I’ve checked out a few of the spots around town where we’d seen them last year, but so far they don’t seem to have made it quite this far north.
A number of times the last two weeks have taken me back to Embudito to check on what butterflies might be flying. Seeing that Sandia Hairstreak and Painted Lady way early in late February, one never knows what might make an appearance. It does look like it might be a good year, as I’ve been seeing a couple of new species for the year pretty much every time I visit. Right on schedule (if last year is any guide), the Southwestern Orangetips started showing up although I’ve yet to get a picture ( hence the multiple return visits this week) – each time I see at least three of them, but they refuse to land to allow their picture to be taken. Missed them again on Monday, but got a new one for the year, a Hoary Comma, that was still there on Friday this week.
Lots of Checkered-Skippers seem to be around as well, pretty much anywhere along the gravel path leading up the canyon.
Spring Whites are also around, as is some kind of yellow sulphur butterfly that also refuses to stop.
New ones today (Friday 3/21) were flyovers by what is most likely a Two-tailed Swallowtail making its run up and down the canyon and a Mylitta Crescent.
Action on the Great Horned Owl front continues with another active nest found by my friend, Maurice, in the exact same spot as last year near Coors and Montano and about a mile south of the one I found a few weeks ago across from the Open Space Visitor Center.
This week’s Audubon Thursday Birder trip to the Open Space Visitor Center included a stop at the latter nest, highlighted by another friend, Joe, pointing out the male keeping a close watch from a nearby tree.
Rumor has it there are a couple of other nests around this year that I still need to track down. I hear one is being pointed out on the BioPark train as it heads past the elephants at the zoo that could be the one we’ve seen the last couple of years near the Tingley Ponds (and may explain why my searches in that area haven’t been successful).
Couple of good woodpeckers on the Open Space Visitor Center trip, too, including this close-up view of a Hairy Woodpecker.
Now that Spring is here, things should start hopping soon on the bird and butterfly front – can’t wait to get out there and see what’s up.