Not too much to talk about in this post, but wanted to get some of my latest photos out there taken since early November. It’s been pretty chilly around here lately, and while I have been getting out fairly regularly there haven’t been all that many worthwhile photo opportunities. So here goes with what I’ve come up with over the last few weeks.
After mentioning in my last post we seemed about done with butterflies for the year, I had a surprising number of species on a warmer day in Embudito on November 6. Some of the chamisa had come into bloom a bit late and attracted considerably more butterflies than expected, including a Checkered White,
a close look at an Orange Sulphur,
and a mating pair of Reakirt’s Blue.
My most exciting find of the month came the next day at Los Poblanos Open Space. After about a dozen attempts, once again I came to visit in search of the elusive Ring-necked Pheasants that had been reported on eBird since mid-September. As usual, I looked carefully around the community garden area before walking a bigger loop around the open fields without having any luck seeing the bird. On the way toward my car, I decided just for the heck of it to take another look around the garden. In the trees quite close to the tool shed, I’d almost dismissed a bird seen in the shadows as one of the Greater Roadrunners (here’s one all fluffed up in the cold from two days ago)
that are always hanging out around there. But the color of this bird, while about the same size as a roadrunner, was oddly more brown….indeed, a female Ring-necked Pheasant and only a few feet away. Hidden too well in the brush, there was no way to get a photo and just as I thought to move along, even closer was the male looking right at me.
How I hadn’t noticed him at all earlier was incredible, almost as much as their not instantly flying off and disappearing. We stayed that way for maybe two minutes with my moving slowly to get a little better view and a few photos before backing away to let them get back to their business.
A little over a week ago, Rebecca and I were down at Bosque del Apache NWR to see some of the new arrivals. Still zooming down I-25 almost to the refuge, Rebecca hit the brakes, pulled off the highway, and backed up to get a better look at a bird that caught her attention by the side of the road. Turned out to be a Golden Eagle, not often seen let alone on the ground, with two more circling around above it.
We’d see a nice variety of birds that day, although often at quite a distance and perhaps fewer than I’d hoped for. It was a treat while eating lunch on the Eagle Scout Deck to have an Osprey on a nearby snag, occasionally visited by a Black Phoebe.
At several locations, families of Javelina were seen including this little one following its mother across the road right in front of us.
Close to the Flight Deck toward the end of our tour we came across several White-faced Ibis, at much closer range than I’d ever seen them before.
A final surprise just a few minutes later was Rebecca spotting a Wilson’s Snipe right by the side of the road. We’d been looking for them that day after reading reports of recent sightings, but still amazing she was able to pick it out in the dried grass. Took me forever to spot it and every time I’d look away, I’d have to search again even though it was only a few feet away and hadn’t moved a bit.
Since that productive trip, I’ve had very few bird sightings and even fewer chances for photographs. They’re surely out there, but maybe they’re tucked away somewhere out of the unusually cold days of the past week. On Wednesday, I did get a reasonably close look at a Ladder-backed Woodpecker in Embudito,
and it was a treat yesterday to finally see Sagebrush Sparrow after a group of six of us had worked two locations (one just east of the Northern Geologic Window and one just west) pretty diligently over most of the morning.
Beautiful photos of the orange Sulphur and the male pheasant. Glad you’ve been getting out. I haven’t gotten out much lately. Makes me want to visit BDA.
Thanks, Kelly. Yep, BDA’s always good especially this time of year.
You documented our trip to the Bosque del Apache NWR well with your pictures of a bird species that is uncommon on the refuge, the Osprey, and the Javelina which is getting more common there. Our three Golden Eagles were along I-25 which is a more likely location for them than the refuge I think. The one on the ground was eating something which was keeping the other eagles nearby. The Sagebrush Sparrow was one I had decided was too early for this part of New Mexico, but it showed up with just two of us as we were leaving the open space.
Thanks, Rebecca. We always seem to get good photos on trips to places you suggest and often of things you’ll be the first to spot.
Great pics. Loved the golden eagle!
Thanks. It was pretty special seeing the golden eagle at such close range and on the ground.
Great reading your comments Rebecca! Re: the Golden Eagles, it seemed like the one on the ground might be immature? The color looked mottled, and lighter around the neck in the photo. The adults I’ve seen seem to be uniformly dark brown. Could these 3 be a family? Thanks!
Peter, one of the two Golden Eagles flying above was a juvenile with white at the base of the tail and white patches in the wings.