Friday, November 30, 2007

Had Enough New Mexico Yet?

Have you had enough yet? I wanted to make sure we highlighted the fun of our last full day in New Mexico. Even though we just got back last night, I would love to rewind the clock just 48 hours and be back birding with the sandy, rocky peaks as a backdrop.

We woke up bright an early on Tuesday for the morning flight. It was COLD! The sunrise and birds were worth it.

We spent the rest of Tuesday birding in the area of Truth or Consequences (formerly known as Hot Springs) or "T or C" as the locals call it. "T or C" has several notable birding areas nearby: Elephant Butte Reservoir, Caballo Lake, and Percha Dam State Park. We started at Percha Dam, birding in the shade of beautiful cottonwood trees. The suite of species here was different than those at Bosque del Apache. They included birds like Phainopepla, Verdin, and Pyrrhuloxia. A gorgeous Ferruginous Hawk was a treat for the eyes. Sorry, it flew before we could get pics. Percha Dam is a great park and lived up to the hype I had heard from fellow birders.

Next, we made a brief stop at Caballo Lake State Park. A wrong turn dumped us into a campground that I had not intended on visiting. I decided to hop out to see what was around anyway. A nearby tree housed a Red-naped Sapsucker (a lifer!) and a Brown Creeper. Another Sapsucker drew my attention to a nearby tree. A large lump in the tree turned out to be a wise old Great-horned Owl staring down at me. I called Beth over to see her first wild owl.

Caballo Lake itself held a ton of Western and Clark's Grebes, a few Ring-billed Gulls, but not much else.

We then headed up towards Elephant Butte. A Mockingbird, more grebes, but not much else graced our presence at the reservoir. We finished up the day back at Bosque del Apache in order to take in the evening flight again. We didn't add any new species, but enjoyed the scenes and the gorgeous sunset nonetheless.

If you're ever in Socorro, be sure to visit the Socorro Springs Brewery - great food and beer. We finished the trip with 108 species and 11 life birds for me and MANY for Beth.


Nate said...

Sounds like a great trip, I enjoyed reading your reports. Congrats on the lifer haul!

dguzman said...

Wow. Hey, ID those birds in the other pics for us beginner/easterners!

pohanginapete said...

Nice one, Patrick — especially the owl. Loved it. I saw a few species of owls overseas last year and never failed to get a thrill from them; ironically, it's been a while since I've seen one here (only one native, one introduced species). Thanks :^)