Since my last post, we’ve been on two Christmas Bird Counts, the Bosque del Apache CBC on 12/18/21 and the Albuquerque CBC the next day. We had to skip the Sandia CBC after it was rescheduled from 12/26/21 to 1/1/22 and conflicted with a trip to Arizona.
We had a reasonably successful count for the Bosque del Apache CBC with 37 species on a cool and windy day. Biggest surprise was coming across a flock of 155 Wild Turkeys, way more than one usually sees in the area.
Among the other birds seen was a Merlin
and a male Pyrrhuloxia out in the open (for a change).
Fortunately, the wind died down by the next day as we headed out to several areas out on the West Mesa for the Albuquerque CBC. Only 19 species (174 individuals), but we got most of our target species and a few surprises, including a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
We successfully tracked down Sagebrush Sparrow and Loggerhead Shrike, species typically only found in our area of the count circle, but missed a couple of species we’d seen last year.
Toward the end of the day, I was checking in on a zoom call with my sisters when I noticed my phone battery level was way low. While sitting in my car charging the phone and zooming, a Greater Roadrunner showed up fooling around desperately begging for a snack. Managed to juggle the phone, car window, and my camera to take a few pictures.
Over the next few days leading up to Christmas, I got out a couple of times and while there weren’t many photo opps, I did manage a couple of photos including this Canyon Towhee peeking out from behind a cholla in Embudito Canyon,
catching both Great Horned Owls in their usual spot in Corrales,
and this one of a Say’s Phoebe on a sunflower stalk at Los Poblanos…a shot I took just because it let me get reasonably close, but that I thought came out quite well.
Then it was off to a B&B in Arizona to meet up with friends, celebrate a birthday, and ring in the New Year over a long weekend. Much too cold and blustery most of the time and even some rain (and snow on the mountains) but still fun times with good friends and plenty of good birds to photograph.
A few of them are also seen in New Mexico, such as Lesser Goldfinch,
and occasionally Pyrrhuloxia.
Others were much more unusual for us to see but rather common for Arizona, including the Gila Woodpecker
and a pair of Northern Cardinals usually seen hiding deep in the brush.
It was a surprising treat to see a hummingbird over the New Year’s holiday, which we suspect is a female Anna’s Hummingbird.
Stopping in at Chiricahua National Monument Visitor Center on the drive home, we’d also be treated to a number of Mexican Jays busy checking on tourists arriving in the parking lot.
Happy New Year, everybody! There will surely be some fabulous times in the days ahead keeping an eye out for more amazing birds, butterflies, lizards, ….