Saturday, October 25, 2014

Phainopepla at Percha Dam SP, glad it hadn't migrated south yet

Phainopeplas are iconic southwest birds but most migrate to Mexico for the winter. So I was delighted to spot this male when I took the trail from the Percha Dam State Park campground. He was about a quarter mile south of the campground and 50 or so feet up a tree.
He called a couple of times and at one point I heard another Phainopepla call but did not see the second bird.
Their shiny black plumage and whispy crest plus red eyes make these males most distinctive. SeEtta

Friday, October 24, 2014

'White' crane at Bosque del Apache "hooks up" with a typical Sandhill Crane

I stopped by Bosque del Apache NWR on my way south. As I drove one of the Refuge roads I saw 2 cranes flying close and saw that one was the unusual 'white' crane that the Refuge has identified as a leucistic Sandhill Crane. There had been concern by crane fans that it would be rejected by the other cranes and it certainly had been by itself when I and others observed it over the past week. As can be seen by the photos below the 'white' crane and it's new friend stayed together after landing and proceeded to feed together for the next 20 min while I birded nearby.
The bottom pic shows the 'white' crane and it's friend still foraging together much later. To left of them is a pair of Lesser Sandhill Cranes (the 'white' crane and it's friend are both Greater Sandhill Cranes and this photo shows the difference between these subspecies nicely) that had been foraging nearby. Don't know if the 'white' crane and the typical Sandhill Crane hanging with it will last but they appeared to be good buddies for about 2 hours until I left the Refuge. SeEtta

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nice large flock of Pinyon Jays-Magdalena Mountain area in NM


Yesterday I birded around the Magdalena Mountains just west of Socorro,NM. Birding was slow in famous Water Canyon in which a lot of rain fell for the prior two days. I was delighted to find this very nice flock of 150-200 Pinyon Jays on the lower slope leading up to Jordan Canyon.

Pinyon Jays are a species of concern across the west and in New Mexico so I am always delighted to see large flocks of them. I live in a county with a lot of pinyon juniper habitat so I see them at various times of the year and a flock of this size is about the largest I have seen there. SeEtta

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

'White' crane among the Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR


This 'white' crane showed up last week at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It is clearly not an albino as it does have color not only in feathers but in eyes and in it's bill. The Refuge states it is a leucistic bird.

Though this 'white' cranes mostly whitish feathering fits with leucism I don't know why it's bill is so lightly colored.

I saw this unusual crane several times this past week. It has been in the company of Sandhill Cranes though I have not seen it interact with any.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sandhill Cranes: from Colorado to New Mexico

I took the above photo of a large flock of Sandhill Cranes as they flew over my house a week ago.
I took the other two photos of Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR over the week-end.  These are early arrivals at Bosque with numbers just in the hundreds while tens of thousands will arrive next month. SeEtta