Date: 12/29/17 10:13 am From: Carl Lundblad <carl.lundblad...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] NM: Rio Grande Valley
I birded on Wednesday and Thursday between Socorro and Las Cruces. There were lots of birds concentrated in riparian and urban areas including sometimes shocking quantities of montane irruptors and a nice sprinkling of rarities.
I started Wednesday morning covering the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro with an immature female YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER north of Brown Hall. All areas with conifers held numerous montane birds including Steller's Jays (~20 overall), all 3 nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees (up to 25), Cassin's Finches, Red Crosbills, and perhaps feeling quite at home among all those forest birds, a cooperative immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK at Turtle Bay Park and later flying over campus. Goshawk ( http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41345273) and Sapsucker ( http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41346557) photos on eBird.
I quickly stopped at the Bosque del Apache Visitor Center to see the continuing EASTERN TOWHEE at the Quail Pond and proceeded to Sierra County. On Las Animas Creek west of Caballo (all private, bird from the road), I had a first-winter NORTHERN PARULA. It was roughly a couple miles west of I-25 in a grove of Sycamore and Ash across from the driveway for address 263.
I walked Percha Dam State Park and down river most of the way to the Sugar Sand Road bridge. Lots of birds including 2 DOWNY WOODPECKERS, an EASTERN PHOEBE, VERMILION FLYCATCHER, up to 40 STELLER'S JAYS, and a SWAMP SPARROW.
Thursday morning I revisited Percha and the north woods and saw most of the same birds (probably a second/different Eastern Phoebe), plus about 10 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. I revisited Las Animas Creek for another shot at photographing the parula, which I didn't see but got a LEWIS'S WOODPECKER in the same location.
Finally I stopped at Leasburg Dam SP near Radium Springs, where 2 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were foraging in the river 100 meters below the dam, and a DUSKY FLYCATCHER was half way down the Mogollon Trail. Blackbird photos in eBird: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41375063.