An Accidental Birder's Journal

More Birds at the End of Winter

in Gallinas River Park at Las Vegas, San Miguel Co, New Mexico
3/11 - 3/28/2016

Gallinas River Park, looking north from Valencia St bridge   March 5, 2015

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11 Mar, Sat Bright, clear, 60s @ 10am
    I stop by the Alamo grande opposite HU playing fields to see if I will see the White-breasted Nuthatch of 3/5 again. Sure enough, there he is hopping from small branch to small branch to main branch, occasionally making like a miniature woodpecker, hammering at the bark to get at a hidden insect. When he disappears behind the main trunk I go to the water's edge at the base of the trunk to look around. "He must be somewhere around here" says I to myself as I look up. There he is, his tail and ass directly overhead, while he gleans a small branch. Just then the music of a marching band stats up as the HU baseball team begins practice. The Nuthatch jumps up and around facing the music, listening intently. Some sound rings a bell in his being and he responds with his own song which I unfortunately cannot hear but I can see his throat and breast moving as he sings maybe his love song or his territorial song. It is spring after all. As soon as the marching band song is over and the music turns tunes to pop, he is gone.

    On the way back I see a solitary Western Bluebird sitting on a wire making like a flycatcher. I've see Flixweed and blue willow in bloom, a tattered Morning Cloak butterfly looking as though it had had a rough flight from Mexico, but these butterflies do not migrate. They hibernate all winter in some protective cranny, though not protected from freezing. Being early risers, before flowers are blooming they drink sap from trees injured by winter or tree trimmers. Yesterday I saw a black Woolly Bear caterpillar, they also can withstand freezing. A Northern-flicker just flew overhead. There is a nest partially made with plastic bags in that Siberian Elm. The birds are not worried by litter or non native plants, if they can use it they do; if not they ignore it.

Mon, 21 Mar partly cloudy, 60s
    I see the Disconsolate One from 3/10 in a tree near the same place uttering a repetitive and plaintive call. I now remember in early summer in the same place different tree probable the same bird, then a recent fledgling accompanied by his quiet sibling, doing the same thing. He has always been a needy child.
    Also seen: Hairy Woodpecker (the photos are in the correct orientation, I was fooled at first glance), Mallards, 2 pair and one lone drake, Northern Flicker, and heard a woodpecker drumming.

Mon, 28 Mar after a 2 day cold spell with low 20s a bit of snow,
it is warm in the 60s with light wind
    I have not seen Juncos for several days - have they headed out to the mountains already? Ciao my little fiends, till next winter, or perhaps I will come visit you in your mountain home.
    One large Buteo being escorted from the area by two Ravens. The Ravens return to more important duties and the Buteo returns, heading south to continue the hunt for fat pigeons by the feed mill.

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Peter Wait That's all for now,

this 5th of April, 2016