An Accidental Birder's Journal

Some Birds at the End of Winter

in Gallinas River Park at Las Vegas, San Miguel Co, New Mexico
2/21 - 3/10/2016

    It was a disappointing el niƱo winter, It started out ok with an above amount of precipitation, then in February nothing. In fact it was arid and warm, the warmest February in the entire world which might have had some thing to do with my seeing a new species and two earlier than I am used to. Those Crocus are blooming on Feb. 22.
    The common species here in winter which one can always see are: crows, ravens, rock and collared doves, juncos and english sparrows. I do not necessarily comment on them.

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Sun, 21 Feb 2016: overcast
    Yesterday I received my new Binocs and decided to check them out on some birds. I did not see much until I saw a little brown bird on a cottonwood branch over the river acting like a flycatcher. With the binocs I noticed yellow patch on its side, then on presenting his rear to me I saw the yellow there, a Yellow Rump Wood Warbler. After flying off a couple of times he moved his foraging to the river bank briefly, then back to the cottonwood. Maybe 1/4 mile further down steam I saw three more Yellow Rumps. At first I thought that the migration was on due to the unusually warm weather but a little reading on the internet informed me that the Yellow Rump can winter in the north eating Juniper fruits and insects.

Fri, 4 Mar 2016 sunny 60s
    Today I have seen a Brown Creeper, maybe 10 Juncos and for the first time in Las Vegas four Western Bluebirds in the alamo saplings bordering the rio. I've seen Mountain Bluebirds in the LV Nat'l Wildlife Reserve and elsewhere, but not in town. Seeing the Western Blue birds here I fondly recall every fall them gathering around an old ranch out-building on the Mendocino coastal cliffs overlooking Schooner Gulch and the blue Pacific and in the White Mountains of eastern CA on the way to visit the ancient Bristle-cone pines camping in the Junipers with the Bluebirds. True birds of happiness.
    On my way home I spot Ratty the Muskrat in the old mill pond. I remember Ratty. I was about five or six and my father read to me the book Wind and the Willows. Ratty was my first literary hero.

Sat, 5 Mar P.cloudy, cooler low 60s
    Spring is still getting ready to burst out. Already the Elms have flowered much to the distress of those who like K who suffer from allergies and hay fever. Buds are swelling with anticipated leaves, already the grasses are sending their green blades through the brown dead remains of last year and we seldom experience any frost.
    As I walk south I hear the drumming of a distant woodpecker answered by a nearby one, repeated a few times then silence. I stop at the Alamo grande where I see a Nuthatch working the branches.

Thr, 10 Mar
    On my way into the Park I see a Robin and then a Say's Phoebe in an alley chasing insects around a car parked under a shelter with grape vines. I have seen Robins here in February but never Say's until late spring. Later I saw a small brown wren-like bird in the the cattails of the former Mill Pond. She moved too fast, hopping from stem to leaf blade to leaf blade for neither camera nor binocs to come into play. She flew to the woods. A Marsh Wren?

    the Disconsolate One
    Just before leaving the park I saw across the Rio a Raven, his mouth agape, feathers rumpled, one wing awry, staring all around at the sky. I thought he was sick or injured, not long for this world. Ahead of me on my side of the rio was another, seemly unconcerned Raven gleaning the ground. As I was photographing the distressed one, giving him a token immortality, the other Raven moved across the rio and confronted him emitting some inaudible vocalization (on the photos I could see throat movement), then a quiet grouk, inaudible vocalization, quiet grouk... finally she flew off with the supposedly sick or injured one now fully restored to health following close behind.
    In conclusion on reviewing my photographs I believe the Disconsolate One was was a first year bird not sick or physically injured but distressed because his parents were neglecting him in favor of preparing for the coming nesting. As those Ravens flying off with sticks in their bills will attest now it is time to get the nest rehabilitated and the new brood started. The Disconsolate One is just a spoiled teen-ager wanting his mommy to take care of him!

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Peter Wait That's all for now,

this 5th of April, 2016