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Category Archives: birds

We are finally getting a little bit of snow but nowhere near enough for skiing. Hopefully it will come soon.

I have been keeping the bird feeders full and enjoying the little birds – mostly finches and the occasional woodpecker. This year we have quail too. That’s quite unusual. They roost in a brush pile down below the house. Eagles are all over the valley, scavenging dead fish and roadkill. I watched a young Bald Eagle as a pair of Black-billed Magpies tried to share its lunch.

The Bernardo Wildlife Area was just minutes from our campsite. I had read a small article about it in the National Audubon magazine so I knew it could be a good spot to see cranes and I had driven by it before setting up the camper earlier in the day. We went there for sunset and were not disappointed. And the next day it was even better at sunset. With colder weather and more wind, I never did get back to Bosque.

Bernardo had a very nice, short auto route and several really nice blinds for watching wildlife. The best part (besides the birds) was that no one was there! And the dogs could get out of the car. They are pretty good bird watchers. Sometimes all of us stayed in the car and used it as a blind to watch and make photos. They watched and listened while I made photos.

We continued to travel south, staying at another RV park without goatheads this time, north of Socorro. I wanted to see wintering Sandhill Cranes and other birds at Bosque del Apache, a National Wildlife Refuge in the Rio Grande valley. After setting up camp, we headed for the refuge and spent the afternoon in the visitors’ center and driving one of the auto tours. The dogs spent the whole time in the car so as not to disturb the wildlife. The weather was cold and windy, not the best for bird watching and photography but I made the best of it.

This female Western Bluebird stopped by here recently. She probably raised a batch or two of youngsters in one of our nest boxes this summer.

Lots of birds have successfully nested on our hillside this year – American Robins, Say’s Phoebes, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, House Wrens, Tree and Violet-green Swallows, Bullock’s Orioles and more. The biggest highlight has been our Nice Nests kestrel box hosting its first successful nest of American Kestrels. Four birds were raised and got out of the box and were standing around on branches up until a few days ago. That is the branchling stage. Now they are out doing flying and hunting lessons. I hope they stay here and work on our rodent population. And I hope they return next year. We have another kestrel box that hasn’t been used yet!

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