Milnesand, NM is on the Llano Estacado, one of the largest mesas on the North American continent. In the mid-1800’s the numbers of individuals of native mammal species—bison, prairie dogs, pronghorn, elk, grizzly bears, and gray wolves—rivaled or exceeded those now in the African Serengeti (Howe 1994). The land is remarkably flat and featureless; nevertheless, the short grass prairie ecosystem of the Llano Estacado provides important habitat for any number of species of birds and animals. Although it was a bit early in the season to see many of the bird species that will be here later in the season, here are a few of the ones that I saw:
The birds seemed to enjoy old farm equipment on an abandoned farm.
I was surprised to see Blue-winged Teal on a small pond at an abandoned farm . . .
. . . and even more surprised to see these birds walking across the prairie.
Of course there were animals too.
Although I saw a prairie dog town with Burrowing Owls, it was on private land, and I could not get close enough for good photos. They were out there though!
I grew up in the Pecos River Valley in the short grass prairie of Southeastern New Mexico. It is always a pleasure to return.