Almost Spring

Just a week away from the first day of Spring and the signs are starting to appear out there. A week after looking in on the Calabacillas Arroyo owls to find the two owlets and the adult female way out on a branch away from the nesting cavity, the little ones had learned to fly and I’d see all four of them, each in a different tree but reasonably close to the nest tree. Here’s one of the little ones.

Great Horned Owl – Calabacillas

This was also the first time this season I managed to spot the male, not too surprisingly in the same tree he’d used several years ago. No doubt these guys will all just disappear sometime in the next few weeks.

Great Horned Owl – Calabacillas

Not much change at the other nests I’ve been watching, although I did get a much better shot of the nesting female

Great Horned Owl – RGNC

as well as one of the male in his usual spot at Rio Grande Nature Center (RGNC).

Great Horned Owl – RGNC

During the Audubon Thursday Birder walk there, somebody noticed near the owl nest was an old Bushtit nest that the Bushtits were busy refurbishing for their upcoming season.


Stopped in on the Western Screech-Owl in Columbus Park, but it’s just hanging out as usual with no indication if or when nesting might begin.

Western Screech-Owl

I managed to check out a few other possibilities on the west side of town a week ago, but failed to spot any nesting owls. One, however, had a Cooper’s Hawk busy working on her old nest since owls hadn’t taken it over.

Cooper’s Hawk

And at another spot, a Greater Roadrunner was acting out and cooing loudly trying to attract a female.

Greater Roadrunner

Very few birds the day I was in Rinconada Canyon, but did hear a couple of Canyon Wrens and saw several Rock Wrens, one of which posed nicely for me.

Rock Wren

A return visit to Willow Creek gave me a better look at the nesting female,

Great Horned Owl – Willow Creek

and for the first time since early February, the male was back in his usual spot.

Great Horned Owl – Willow Creek

I hadn’t been back to Pueblo Montano in a few weeks, so stopped by there one day to get a little better view of her.

Great Horned Owl – Pueblo Montano

The big development this week was with the pair in Corrales, where I’d only seen the male since mid-February. I’d suspected nesting was going on in the old cavity from a single white feather clinging to its edge, but earlier this week saw that the female was just peeking out of the cavity.

Great Horned Owl – Corrales

That could well mean that she’s sitting up and has a couple of little ones in there with her that maybe we’ll get to see in a few weeks.

Fun picture of a Cooper’s Hawk that day, sitting in the irrigation ditch.

Cooper’s Hawk

I’d been hearing that folks had been seeing a Burrowing Owl out in Rio Rancho so motored out there yesterday to take a look. Sure enough, I saw the one that had been reported, but if you look a little closer you’ll see a second one parked back there in the shadows.

Burrowing Owl

The last couple of weeks had also kicked off the start of our spring butterflies, which are always to treat to see back in business. First up is our Sandia Hairstreak, which I started seeing on March 2.

Sandia Hairstreak (Callophrys mcfarlandi)

I’ve been seeing a good number of them in Embudito Canyon and a few other spots since, and have been returning to Embudito regularly hoping to see our first Southwestern Orangetip. Had my first Orangetip yesterday, and saw several more today. Early in the season, they seem to be constantly on the move and only settle down for a few seconds quick to fly off as I try to get closer. This is the best I could do so far, but hope for better photos over the next few weeks.

Southwestern Orangetip (Anthocharis sara thoosa)



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.

2 Responses to Almost Spring

  1. I was back to the Bushtit nest at RGNC today. I think they were borrowing materials from the nest to build a new one. The nest looked like it had less bulk and there was no sign of the Bushtits.

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