Spring’s really kicking into high gear around here with new for the year butterflies and birds, and baby owls popping up at almost all of the nests now. The day after my last post having read about a nesting owl near the Tingley Ponds, I went for a look. We usually have one somewhere in the vicinity but I hadn’t found it on earlier visits. Not too many possible nesting spots to check and after looking closely from several different angles I finally saw a tail sticking out of a large old hawk nest.
Looked about the same this morning and just no way to see any more of that bird. Much closer to the ground in a nearby tree was this Cooper’s Hawk, maybe wondering about the owl taking over its nest.
By the public fishing ponds and parking area, I also got a close-up look at a young Black-crowned Night-Heron.
There have been a few interesting developments with a few of the owl nests this year. One on a cliff in Petroglyph National Monument had been totally destroyed, maybe by some ravens that were photographed harassing the owls, and both the owls and the nest vanished. Amazingly, however, about a week later somehow new nesting material appeared in the exact same location and the owls are trying again. If anything, this nest looks much more secure than the previous one and had to have been built by someone other than the owls.
I’d been told but hadn’t seen it before that the male hangs out just below and to the left of the nest under an overhanging rock…this time I got a good look at our guy.
Some friends had told me of seeing another owl near Calabacillas Arroyo, another location where we usually have a nest but hadn’t found one since 2017. Managed to finally spot the owl (but still no nest) a few days later, typically extremely well-hidden in a bare tree, but a bit more obvious from a different angle off the trail. Like most owls I see, it stayed almost motionless while I was around, but at one point got quite active scratching and preening to where I almost got organized to take a short video.
Yesterday, I started the rounds of most of the nests I’ve been following thinking it’s about time we had a few more baby owls pop out. We’ve been seeing them at Albuquerque Academy for a couple of weeks now, but there was a bit of a disaster there recently when one of the owlets fell from the nest and apparently impaled itself on a branch…the good news is that the little one was rescued and is in rehab now in Santa Fe. It was good to see that the other little one in that nest seemed to be getting along just fine this morning.
I also made my way down to Corrales where I’ve been seeing the adults all year, but had only seen the nest since my friends told me about it a couple of weeks ago. Much excitement there with both adults back high in the trees on the east side of the ditch while at least one little one popped up now and then from the nest cavity.
There might be little ones at Willow Creek, but that nest was so high all one can see is that Mom’s sitting up so I’ll need to check back there again soon. Meanwhile, this morning I also made a visit to the one at Pueblo Montano (near Bosque School) and, yep, a little one there (and Dad perched in the open in a nearby tree),
and at the nest near Bridge Blvd I’d first heard about two weeks ago, Mom was off the nest leaving at least two little ones some space to move about.
Lastly, I made the trek to the nest near Durand Open Space that we’d first spotted at the end of February on our Audubon Thursday Birder walk, and yep, got at least one little one there today, too.
On the walk to that nest, several Snowy Egrets were making their way down the irrigation ditch, flying a short distance before hunting for a snack.
Rebecca and I took a weekend trip to Sedona, AZ a few days after my last post. I’d passed through there decades ago and remembered it as being rather spectacular, and decided we had to go since Rebecca’d never been.
Obviously a bit more crowded and touristy than it was forty years ago, the scenery was indeed fabulous (We learned it’s much easier getting through town early on Sunday morning than late Friday afternoon!). We picked up a few new butterflies for the year during our visit, including the Zela Metalmark, of which we saw quite a few on a visit to the Page Springs Hatchery.
Back home and looking for butterflies in Embudito Canyon and other foothill locations on those days when conditions looked good have turned up several good species, including Acmon Blue,
usually one or two Sandia Hairstreaks and Mylitta Crescents, maybe a Gray Hairstreak, and yesterday an unusual number of Southwestern Orangetips,
and, a species I might see there once a year, Mormon Metalmark. I’d just mentioned to Rebecca that we were in the area where I’d seen them in years past when she almost immediately spotted one.
On one of those visits to Embudito, a Black-throated Sparrow posed for a portrait,
and, while I hear they’ve been seen in Embudito and Embudo this week as well, we got good looks at a pair of Scott’s Oriole on a visit to Copper Trailhead.
Last week’s Audubon Thursday Birder trip was quite successful, with the group of 14 birders seeing almost 50 species of birds on a trip to Coyote del Malpais Golf Course in Grants, a new location for the group. Among those birds were several Eared Grebe,
and a Savannah Sparrow.
Just my second visit to that area, it deserves more frequent visits with all the amazing birds that seem to show up there.