Thursday, March 13, 2014
New Mexico Adventure - Part 3
Our third and final day was spent at Bosque del Apache which is located about an hour south of Albuquerque and Linda was able to join us on this final day. This place is a very well known birding hotspot for its huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese in the winter. It is also known for having some very unusual and rare bird appearances, the most recent being the Rufous-necked Wood Rail. Our arrival was fairly late in the season and the Sandhill Cranes and many of the Snow Geese had already departed for nesting grounds much further north. A few lingering Snow Geese did give us some great views in the sky along with a loner that was foraging by itself near one of the ponds.
Snow Geese Flock
A pair of Bald Eagles on a tree far out into one of the ponds presented a rather nice perspective with the distance mountains in the background.
The grassy areas along the roads and pond were full of Western Meadowlarks and when they land in the dry grass they almost disappear. But when they expose that bright yellow breast, then they really stand out.
A visit to the Visitor's Center here was quite the bonanza. They also had an indoor seating area with glass windows with feeders right out side and the birds were easily feasting on the bountiful food supply. We had American Goldfinch, White-throated Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, and a fairly rare Golden-crowned Sparrow.
We were also fortunate to see some Mule Deer while driving the roads around the ponds at Bosque. Almost drove right past them as they were walking away.
Finally after a full day of birding we called it a night and after a restful night in a local motel, Chris and I headed back to Arizona the next morning and birding at several odd spots along the way in this remote area of western New Mexico. Just outside of the town of Magdalena, NM, we came across 3 Pronghorns of which 2 of them were sparring when we first saw them. But once we stopped the car, they stopped their sparring and headed out across the dry grassland.
I think that each of us came away with 4 new life birds on this trip which made it all worth while. It is getting harder to find new life birds for both of us in this part of the United States, so future different trips are in store for both of us outside of this area this year and it will be amazing to see what all we find. Chris will probably get more as he has more trips planned than I do for different areas of the country.