Date: 7/24/17 9:31 am From: Marcy Scott <marcyscott44...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] sNM: Uvas Valley playa shorebirds
With the generous weekend rains, late yesterday afternoon (Sunday) Jimmy Zabriskie and I decided to check the Uvas Valley (aka Nutt-Hatch) playa, which is just east of the Sierra-Dona Ana County line along NM 26. We were delighted to find a good bit of water, including an inundated and sparsely vegetated area fairly close to the road that was hopping with activity. Other than a couple of interesting dowitchers that we only saw briefly, we didn't see anything terribly rare, but it was a good mix. Stilt Sandpipers (2) were perhaps the most notable, but there were also a few dozen Wilson's Phalaropes, a good mix of peeps (Baird's, Western, and Least), a few Greater Yellowlegs, a couple of Spotted Sandpipers, many Killdeer, many American Avocets, and several Black-necked Stilts. Mallards and a couple of Cinnamon Teal were the only ducks noted. A calling Red-tailed Hawk, several Western Kingbirds, and several singing Cassin's Sparrows made for a nice evening visit.
This morning (Monday) we couldn't resist the temptation to check the playa again, having received more rain overnight, and apparently Hatch and environs had had yet another gully-washer. The playa was three times the size it was yesterday, with none of the conveniently close shorebird habitat any longer and most of the shorebirds on the far strip of mud beyond scoping distance. But what a racket of toads calling! At first we thought we had some kind of car trouble, until we turned the engine off and the sound got louder! At least four different species were calling constantly, and little heads could be seen bobbing across the playa, making for quite a spectacle that made us smile. Hundreds of dragonflies were having a field day as well.
The larger shorebirds were still present, including the phalaropes and the 2 Stilt Sandpipers, and there were also 5 White-faced Ibis. The smaller guys were too far away for us to discern. An adult and an immature Swainson's Hawk and a happy-looking Greater Roadrunner surveyed the fringes of the playa. The toad spectacle will be short-lived, but with the amount of water there now the place is definitely worth a check for anyone traveling between Hatch and Deming.