Sunday, July 27, 2014

New Birds in New Mexico

Spring is always a hot birding season, and this past spring I finally got to take advantage of some minor spring birding with a trip to New Mexico. While the trip was not primarily for birding, there was still time for a few minor birding stops in Albuquerque and slightly south of the city. A good many southwestern birds - Gambel's quail, greater roadrunners, and others - were part of the scene, but while it was a shade too early for most migrants to make an appearance, much to my dismay, one local resident did make my life list.

Of course, it happened as it has all too frequently - too much time straining for unsatisfying views that finally result in a disappointing lifer, for while I'd seen all the requisite field marks, I didn't feel I'd really enjoyed a good view of the bird. Then, naturally, the next day in a far easier place, the bird reappeared with tantalizingly good views and a far more cooperative nature. Either way, though, I was able to add the black-throated sparrow as a lifer. It's an attractive sparrow and one I've been eager to see for years, and I'm glad for the opportunity.

In addition to a wide range of birds, particularly at a grand city park that was far more enjoyable than I'd anticipated, I also saw an amazing coyote, a variety of turtles, and great New Mexico culture and nuclear history. From hot air balloons to arroyos to distinguished architecture to nuclear test sites to radio telescopes, this is an area of the country I hope to visit again, for longer, and in more detail.

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