New Mexico: May 19-21, 2010

Albuquerque is a city with no soul– a slightly dangerous and depressing place. Even the Whole Foods was small and inadequate, though it appeared to be the hang out for the local alternative people. I only went there to drive up to Sandia Crest to look for Flammulated Owls but was so tired by the time the sun set that I left before hearing one. Before the sun went down I drove to the summit and saw many Broad-billed Hummingbirds at the feeders. I lost the muff to my camera’s microphone which was annoying because it was extremely windy the entire trip. Around the trees there were lots of Plumbeous Vireos, Warbling Vireos, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and some Western Tanagers. I camped at a noisy campground where there was only a White-winged Dove to look at and left early in the morning driving four and a half hours to the Gila National Forest. I found a nice camping place at Cherry Creek Campground and looked around there the rest of the day.  

New Mexico

There were plenty of birds to look at–Cordilleran Flycatchers, Plumbeous Vireo, Greater Pewee, Red-faced Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Acorn Woodpecker, Pine Siskin, Grace’s Warbler, White-throated Swift. Two weird people in a white van pulled up and ruined my solitude so I left and drove to the Mangas Creek area on Highway 180. There I found a Summer Tanager, Yellow Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, Bullock’s Oriole, and Western Wood Pewee. Next I drove to Bill Evans Road that goes along the Gila River looking for a Common Black-hawk but decided it needed to come back early in the morning. However, I decided to park for a while under a large sycamore tree where a lot of bird activity was going on. Cassin’s Kingbirds were going back and forth and there was a Willow Flycatcher on a nest, a Broad-tailed Hummingbird stopped by and a Bridled Titmouse. There was another Summer Tanager, Vermillion Flycatcher, Tree Swallows and a Spotted Sandpiper. Before I left I made one more stop and found a family of Scaled Quails. I had given up on the hawk but as I was about to turn off Bill Evans back onto Highway 180 there perched up in a tree was a Common Black-hawk! I tried to call in an owl before falling asleep but was unsuccessful. However, as I dozed off I heard many Whip-poor-wills calling all around the CG. I awoke at 2:00 AM to the mournful call of the Flammulated Owl!

In the morning I drove the short distance to McMillen CG and found another Red-faced Warbler and Grace’s Warbler. Back at Cherry Creek there was a Painted Redstart. It was hot and windy. I left Gila NF and drove to New Mexico’s most famous birding spot, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. I took a walk on a desert trail and saw only one Black-throated Sparrow. On the refuge I saw American White Pelican, Ladder-backed Woodpecker feeding chicks in a nest hole, Green Heron, Summer Tanager, Vermillion Flycatcher, Neotropic Cormorant, and Gambel’s Quail. From the refuge I drove west to Water Canyon. I passed a herd of antelopes on my way up to the campground. As I set up my tent a Gray Flycatcher came and perched in a tree above the picnic table. During the night I heard another Flammulated Owl way off in the distance.

I looked in Box Canyon the next day but it was way too windy and before heading back to Albuquerque I stopped again at Bosque del Apache but due to high winds saw only some Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the visitor center. Then I went home.

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