Year-end Post

Less than a week to go to 2023, and things are looking good for the new year. To wrap up 2022, here are some of my photos taken since about Thanksgiving, and while it’s possible I might get a few more before 2023 arrives it seems like a good time for a new posting.

The day before Thanksgiving, I finally got a couple photos of the American Bittern that was seem at Rio Grande Nature Center from 11/19 to 11/26. Unfortunately, due to the lighting and such the photos aren’t that great although it was fun to see it. Also on the pond that morning were some baby Canada Geese getting their first experience walking on the ice; seemed most unusual to have little ones so late in the year.

Canada Goose

Not many birds seen on my next few outings, but one that made a regular appearance was the Great Blue Heron including this one from the boat ramp at the Alameda Bridge,

Great Blue Heron

and another one high in a cottonwood a few days later in the Tingley bosque.

Great Blue Heron

The ponds in the Tingley bosque also turned up my first Ruby-crowned Kinglet for the season,

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

and gave me a nice look at a female Hooded Merganser.

Female Hooded Merganser

While scouting the Piedras Marcadas unit of the Petroglyph National Monument, part of our route for the upcoming Albuquerque Christmas Bird Count, a coyote was keeping a close eye on our activity.


I’ve made several trips to Alameda Open Space this month after hearing of a variety of interesting bird sightings there recently. Totally missed out on the Northern Parula and Magnolia Warbler, but did get a look at the Rusty Blackbird and on one occasion saw a Wilson’s Snipe out in the open but pretending to be invisible by tucking that long bill away.

Wilson’s Snipe

Got a nice shot that same morning of a nearby Eastern Bluebird.

Eastern Bluebird

Rather chilly out on our first Christmas Bird Count this year for the Bosque del Apache NWR on December 17, but we’d end up with a decent list despite having to deal with tire pressure issues all day (fortunately we’d make it back to Albuquerque okay before needing to have the tire replaced a few days later).

A few of the goodies we’d see were a Phainopepla,


a Red-naped Sapsucker we’d originally decided was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, [NOTE: Since the original posting, it has now been determined that this was indeed a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the caption updated.]

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

several Ladder-backed Woodpeckers,

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

and Mountain Bluebird, some of which were kiting (hovering in place) over a field.

Mountain Bluebird

The next day was the Albuquerque CBC, where we explore a number of locations on the West Mesa. Chilly again and mostly cloudy that day, so we wouldn’t see too many birds, but were happy to get a Rock Wren, Crissal Thrasher, and a couple of Sagebrush Sparrows for our list.

Almost a week later on Christmas Eve morning, we decided to try for the American Dipper that had been seen on the east side of the Rio Grande just south of Montano. I’d tried earlier in the week without success but figured it was worth a shot. After almost giving up for the second time, there it was hiding behind a Russian olive tree along the ditch.

American Dipper

We’d see it for a short time before it would disappear behind the branches only to reappear nearby after a minute or so. Not nearly as good a photo as other folks have been getting, but it made my day. We then thought we’d hit the Nature Center again, where I’d seen the Tundra Swan earlier that week (parked on the ice and tucked into a ball – not the best pose for a photo), and wondering if we’d see the unusual White-throated Sparrow or the Brown Thrasher others had been reporting. White-throated Sparrow was too easy, regularly popping in and out to hit the feeder.

White-throated Sparrow

No Tundra Swan that day, but while we were looking around for other birds our friend, Lefty, called that they were seeing the Brown Thrasher from the observation room inside the Nature Center. We joined the crowd there but only got the most fleeting views of the thrasher every now and then. Finally managed to get a shot of it although it’s still pretty well hidden.

Brown Thrasher

Our final CBC for the year was yesterday’s Sandia Mountains CBC, where this year we were assigned Embudito Canyon. Despite spending quite a bit of time on the count and good weather conditions after a chilly start, there were a few expected species that we wouldn’t see such as Cactus Wren or Rock Wren. But it was a treat to see and photograph a single Rufous-crowned Sparrow (my only photo that day).

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Can’t wait to see what 2023 will bring. Happy New Year, y’all!


About joeschelling

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

2 Responses to Year-end Post

  1. Rebecca Gracey says:

    You captured the features of many beautiful birds in December. The Rufous-capped Sparrow was a great shot considering he allowed himself to be seen for only seconds. Another good photo of the Eastern Bluebird. He was artistically positioned on a branch just like the male Eastern Bluebird on last year’s calendar page for December.

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