Rosy Finch Banding at Sandia Crest

I was so happy that Catherine Hamilton, a lovely person and a brilliant artist, came to visit me in December. We had fun birding around the Albuquerque area. One of the “must-do” items on Catherine’s agenda was Rosy Finch banding at Sandia Crest. Catherine, Bosque Bill and I set off early on a cold Sunday morning hoping that the Rosy Finches would appear in significant numbers. It has not been a good snow year in the Sandias, and the Rosy Finches often do not come to the Crest House in large numbers if their other food sources are not covered with snow. However, when we drove into the parking lot at 9:00 a.m., the first thing that we saw was a huge flock of over 100 Rosy Finches circling the Crest House. Catherine jumped out and got all three species and a Steller’s Jay before Bill and I even managed to get our camera equipment together. The pressure was off, and we knew it was going to be an excellent day.

We went inside the Crest House to watch the birds and the banding. Rosy Finches were flying in from everywhere. The trees were full of them.

Rosy Finches in a piñon by the deck at the Crest House.

Rosy Finches in a piñon by the deck at the Crest House.

Even the trees below the deck were covered with Rosy Finches.

Rosy Finches wait in the trees below the deck at the Crest House.

Rosy Finches wait in the trees below the deck at the Crest House.

A Black Rosy-Finch studies the goodies on the deck at the Crest House.

A Black Rosy-Finch studies the goodies on the deck at the Crest House.

A Gray-crowned Rosy Finch flies towards the deck.

A Gray-crowned Rosy Finch flies towards the deck.

There are three Rosy Finch traps. The birds approach very enthusiastically.

Rosy Finches fly to the trap.

Rosy Finches fly to the trap.

Banding a captured Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch.

Banding a captured Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch.

Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy Finch wing stretch.

Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy Finch wing stretch.

Catherine Hamilton a/k/a @birdspot discusses the finer points of Rosy Finch identification with another birder.

Catherine Hamilton a/k/a @birdspot discusses the finer points of Rosy Finch identification with another birder.

Catherine really enjoyed watching the bird banding.

Catherine really enjoyed watching the bird banding.

Being there when the Rosy Finches are banded allows people to get really close looks at them.

Terry Hodapp gets a Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch ready for photographs.

Terry Hodapp gets a Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch ready for photographs.

Terry Hodapp holds a Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch while Steve Fettig takes photographs.

Terry Hodapp holds a Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch while Steve Fettig takes photographs.

Terry holds a Black Rosy-Finch for Steve to photograph.

Terry holds a Black Rosy-Finch for Steve to photograph.

A highlight of the day was Catherine’s releasing a Hepburn’s Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch.

Catherine carefully holds a Hepburn's Rosy Finch and prepares to release it …

Catherine carefully holds a Hepburn's Rosy Finch and prepares to release it …

Hepburn's Gray-crowned Rosy Finch release at Sandia Crest House, New Mexico.

… and it's gone.

We stayed at Sandia Crest for four hours. During that time the Rosy Finches continued to circle around and return to the deck. The trees were still full of finches when we left.

Here you can see all three species of Rosy-Finches.

Here you can see all three species of Rosy-Finches: Gray-crowned Rosy Finches, Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, and Black Rosy Finches.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About these ads

9 Comments

Filed under New Mexico birds

9 responses to “Rosy Finch Banding at Sandia Crest

  1. That birder somehow looks familiar…. ;-)

    Lovely photos of the Rosy-finches!

  2. Linda, what a neat experience for you. To see so many finches in one place must have been especially exciting. Very neat! Pretty birdies!

  3. What a wonderful experience! Those finches are simply beautiful – thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. What a super day that must have been!! I have never heard of these finches. They’re really beautiful!

  6. Yes, they are lovely. I am very fortunate to live where I can see them easily. Thank all of you for your comments!

  7. Arnie Hauswald

    Great images. And they bring back fond memories. Four of us were birding Bosqe del Apache NWR just prior to Thanksgiving last year. We made the trip to Sandia Crest expressly to seek out the Rosy Finch. We were indeed fortunate, as were you, to see the Gray-crowned, Brown-capped and Black Rosy-Finches. And, as an added bonus, we came across a flock of Red Crossbill at the 9000ft elevation marker. Such fun.
    The four of us are from diverse parts of the country: 2 from CA; 1 from OR, and yours truly from TX. As a reward, in addition to seeing a darling bird, we all got to take home three life sightings-four for me.
    I recommend anyone who has the opportunity make seeking out the Rosy-Finch on Sandia Crest. Well worth the drive to the 10,678ft elevation.
    Arnie Hauswald
    Houston, Texas
    ABA Member

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s