Monday, December 1, 2008

Southwest, Part 1 of 4

Black Rosy-Finch, 11-26-08, Sandia Crest

We’re back from a road trip to New Mexico and Arizona. Here is my entry for W, 11-26-08:

Gorgeous sunset east of Flagstaff, AZ on Hwy 40
Sandia Crest is the 10,678-foot high point of the Sandia Mountains, that are located just northeast of Albuquerque, NM. At the feeder on the deck of the Sandia Crest House Gift Shop & Restaurant (it’s at the peak), we saw three species of Rosy-Finches – Brown-capped (a life bird for both of us), Gray-crowned, and Black. It was quite a treat. Rosy-Finches are such charming and beautiful birds. The Rosy-Finches, along with the Steller’s Jays, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and several races of Dark-eyed Juncos were very cooperative and allowed us to observe them from a few feet away. We also saw two Peregrine Falcons harassing a Red-tailed Hawk, and a Raven mobbing a Golden Eagle. Ravens are large, but the Golden Eagle made the Raven look rather small. We met a NM birder a couple of days later, and he said that seeing Peregrines up there is pretty rare.

The following photos are from the Sandia Crest. Many of the birds were banded.

Black Rosy-Finches

Rosy-Finches at the feeder (bottoms up!)

Steller's Jay (banded)

White-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch
And the view ...

Good night,

P.S. Part 2 of 4 is here.

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