First Post for 2020

Well, I’m just not keeping up with blogging of late and can’t come up with any particular reasons why that is. Since returning from that delightful Thailand trip described in my last posting, days were pretty busy first getting through all those trip pictures, followed by all the holiday activities and events and including three Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs). Already two weeks into the new year and it seems I haven’t been getting out all that often either and when I do things have been pretty quiet in most of my usual haunts. Nonetheless,  a few decent photographs have appeared during that time that I thought worth sharing here.

For the Bosque del Apache CBC, Rebecca and I were out from dawn to dusk covering the San Antonio area just north of the refuge. She’s done that area for quite a few years now and knows what to look for and where. I’ve joined her for the last eight years and always have fun getting some special birds and sometimes decent pictures. For this year’s count, the weather was just about perfect and here’s a few pictures from that day. Early on we got good looks at this Red-tailed Hawk,

Red-tailed Hawk

and later in the day a Pyrrhuloxia who came out in the open for a change.


A highlight for me was seeing a Merlin, a bird it seems I only manage to find maybe once a year.


Quite a few Western Meadowlarks around, this one showing off that bright yellow chest.

Western Meadowlark

The next day found us covering all of Corrales for the Albuquerque CBC where we ended up with a pretty good list. It was fun getting to add the Great Horned Owl for the list, found close to last year’s nest as a friend had reported on eBird a few days earlier.

Great Horned Owl

We only spotted the one, while more recent reports had both owls with one remarkably well-hidden close to the other.

The day after Christmas falling on a Thursday this year, the Audubon Thursday Birders added to the Sandia Mountain CBC by covering the area of Bear Canyon included in the count circle. As usual, we ended up seeing more species than on any of our scouting visits. Later that day, Rebecca and I headed out to our usual count area in the East Mountains and added a few more species. Somehow, I didn’t end up with any photographs from that day unfortunately.

To kick off 2020, I did get a nice close-up of a Spotted Towhee.

Spotted Towhee

A few days later, Rebecca and I wandered down to Shining River Open Space hoping to see the American Dipper that had been reported in the same spot it had been a couple years ago. No luck on our first attempt, but we went with some friends we met on our way back who quickly spotted it right where they’d expected to see it. I returned again the next day to find it still hanging around that same location.

American Dipper

Following that success, we decided to drop in on the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, where Rebecca wanted to show me their new penguin exhibit she’d seen earlier. It was indeed pretty interesting, but a little tricky getting good photographs. I can’t help but take pictures of male Wood Ducks when I come across one,

Wood Duck

and while I rarely take photos of zoo animals, I liked this one of one of the gorillas catching some rays.

My local gorilla

Off to San Lorenzo Canyon and then Bosque del Apache last weekend turned up a few good birds, such as this Rock Wren,

Rock Wren

a couple of Loggerhead Shrikes,

Loggerhead Shrike

and close flybys of a Ferruginous Hawk,

Ferruginous Hawk

and a female Northern Harrier.

Northern Harrier

Two birds from today’s walk south of Alameda on the west side of the Rio Grande included a closer view of a young Bald Eagle that we’d seen a couple weeks ago from much further away,

Juvenile Bald Eagle

and one of several Hermit Thrushes that were working their way through the trees.

Hermit Thrush

We’ll see what the next few weeks turn up as hopefully I’ll be getting out more and see a few more birds. My owls should be appearing again about now as they start scouting out nesting locations for the upcoming season.



About joeschelling

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

9 Responses to First Post for 2020

  1. Very glad you had the time to post all these wonderful shots. I love all the varied raptors that you saw.
    There is something peculiar, isn’t there about getting away from your blog for a little bit… The exact same thing happens to me from time to time. But then I’m always glad to be back in the blogosphere with all my wonderful fellow nature loving bloggers!

  2. Rebecca Gracey says:

    Those are especially good pictures of the Dipper and the Ferruginous Hawk. I’m looking forward to seeing what you photograph in 2020.

  3. pcallen says:

    thanks for keeping the blog posts coming Joe, its such a joy to “see what you’re seeing” through your excellent photographs. A friend was stopped in her tracks a week or so ago here in Placitas by a flock of “dozens” of Cedar Waxwings. We haven’t seen the little beauties here yet this winter, but have lots of other birds including the Red-wing Blackbird flock visiting from the nearby pond. Why aren’t they along the Rio Grande?

    • joeschelling says:

      Thanks, Peter. That’s great your friend got to see that huge flock of Cedar Waxwings. I remember having a similar experience in the East Mountains during the Sandia Christmas Bird Count last year, but hadn’t seen any yet this season until finally getting a few down at Percha SP yesterday. I’ve been wondering where they’ve been, but numbers do seem to vary every year and also I haven’t been out to look too often lately. Red-wings about the same; I’ve seen some along the river recently, but maybe those numbers will pick up in the next month or so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.