A Yellow-throated Warbler in San Antonio, New Mexico.
There are lenticular clouds over the mountains outside my motel room as I write this. I am leaving the Rio Grande River again, this time after trailing alongside it as it winds South through New Mexico, and after pausing along my drive yesterday to check out various spots at its banks and (artificially) dammed lakes. At the top end of Elephant Butte Lake, which I arrived at after taking back roads that were duly described as “irregularly maintained” in the excellent “New Mexico Bird Finding Guide”, I stopped at Monticello Point and had a great time scoping numerous grebes, waterfowl, and a smattering of (not as exciting as hoped for) gulls. Continuing Southward, I added more waterfowl, land birds, and finally, at dusk, the best looks at a Prairie Falcon I have ever had.
I thought I would write out my list for New Mexico, so if you are interested: .
(I reserve the right to modify this list since I am writing it off the cuff and may have forgotten things)
New Mexico, Dec 10-17
General areas: Rattlesnake Springs, Albuquerque, Sandia Crest, Bosque del Apache NWR, Elephant Butte Lake, Caballo Lake and Dam, Percha Dam and State Park, various highway sightings in between:
Snow Goose (white and blue morphs)
Mallard (incl. Mexican; could be wrong)
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk (crazy assortment of light to all dark morphs)
Rough-legged Hawk (dark morph, Bosque)
Sandhill Crane (Greater and Lesser)
(gull numbers were pretty low when I was at Elephant Butte/Caballo/Percha, that is until I was driving out at dusk, when groups of hundreds materialized from somewhere and flew over my car).
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)
Western Scrub Jay
Chihuahuan Raven (RS)
Swainson’s Thrush (RS)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (all Audubon’s, if I recall correctly)
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler (San Antonio)
White-throated Sparrow (Bosque! funny)
White-crowned Sparrow (varying forms)
Dark-eyed Junco (varying forms)
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (incl Hepburn’s)
(WOOT all three, and photos of all to boot!)
An enormous THANK YOU to my lovely hosts and guides Linda, her son Eric, and Bosque Bill – I was so happy to be able to enter your lives and your hospitality was beyond incredible. Also to all of the wonderful people at Sandia Crest, who explained some molt patterns and irregularities in Rosy-Finches, gave me tips on NM/AZ birding, and even let me handle Hepburn’s race Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches! For. The. Win. And thank-you Bruce Neville! I had one of my best sparrow mornings ever, thanks to you.