Not too many pictures to post this time, but wanted to highlight that today marks 12 years since I first started this blog way back on March 5, 2011. Here we are 363 posts later, and it’s still fun getting out taking some photographs and sharing them with anyone who’s interested in taking a look.
A bit chilly around here lately and I’m more than ready for some warmer weather and seeing butterflies again. On top of the cold, there’s been a few bursts of snow (like this one on February 8),
but as usual, it tends to mostly evaporate away later in the day.
It’s also been an odd month since I haven’t found any nesting owls yet. They’ve usually paired up by now with the female reliably sitting on her nest whenever I stop by. Probably haven’t been working on it as much as most years, but still surprised not to have had any luck at all. I probably shouldn’t be too surprised, but also find it a little odd not seeing any Sandia Hairstreaks yet. I’d gotten to start expecting them by very early March (and one year at the end of February), but have long held that they’ll be seen for sure by St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). Stay tuned.
Two days after that snowfall, the American Dipper that I’d first seen at the end of December was still working the irrigation ditch near Montaño and posed for some better photos.
A week after that, we took another trip to Bosque del Apache NWR for more winter birds and take a few photos. At the feeding station by the Visitor Center, despite two Red-tailed Hawks sitting in the large cottonwood tree,
lots of Gambel’s Quail showed up for lunch.
It was quite a day for the Gambel’s Quail and we’d see an unusually large number of them in that area.
Later in the morning, a few Northern Shovelers who’d been napping on the edge of a pond decided to paddle off in formation.
The Long-billed Dowitchers were still present at the Boardwalk Pond and let us approach even closer than on our earlier visits. I particularly liked this picture from a little farther away, but showing those concentric water ripples.
Another one was almost accidental, but I’d been wanting to try my latest camera on a ‘birds in flight’ shot for awhile now, and managed this one just as a few flew in to join the others.
Toward the end of our drive around the refuge, a most cooperative Northern Harrier gave me a few other chances for some similar flight photos.
One day last week, I’d been out wandering the bosque near the Rio Grande Nature Center, mostly looking for nesting owls but instead seeing a ridiculous number (almost a dozen) of porcupines. On my return walk along the bike path by the irrigation ditch, I’d occasionally scan the edges for Wilson’s Snipe which can sometimes be found somewhere along the ditch around this time of year. Took awhile, but I finally spotted one on the far side of the ditch.
Noting a tumbleweed stuck in the ditch nearby, it crossed my mind to walk the 50 yards or so to the bridge to cross over the ditch and then back to the tumbleweed to try for a closer photo from just above the bird. It was rather amazing to see how well it could hide tucked in close to the dry grass, and it took me several attempts to finally pick him out from the background.
One last photo for this post, this time from Willow Creek Open Space (another unsuccessful search for a nesting owl reported on eBird recently). This young Cooper’s Hawk was calling loudly, flying around (at one point almost right at me) before taking up this perch to keep sounding off.
You captured some nice winter birding. Maybe there will be butterflies in your next blog since spring is around the corner, up the street, and down an alley.
Sure hope so…I’m ready for Spring!
Congrats on the anniversary of your blog Joe! Creating a story, uploading the images, proofreading your text, replying to comments….it’s more work than the average reader may realize. So a big thumps-up from a fellow blogger for your persistence.
Wow, 12 years! We’re so lucky to have you Joe, I’m so glad you still enjoy doing this, because I still love to see what you’re seeing! Thank you
Thanks, Peter. Glad to hear you enjoy my blog.