Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part II

At the close of A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part I we were about to return to the Nature Trail after making a detour to Alcove House at Bandelier National Monument.

We saw a Mule Deer doe browsing quite close to the trail. She was not concerned about three photographers pointing long lenses at her, and she continued to consume a great deal of Gambel Oak as we photographed her.

Mule Deer doe

Mule Deer doe

Mule Deer doe

A hungry girl.

This cute little Rock Squirrel paused next to the trail just long enough for me to take its photo.

Rock Squirrel

Rock Squirrel

I saw a lovely Abert’s Squirrel peeking at me from a branch of a Ponderosa Pine.

Abert's Squirrel

Abert's Squirrel

Bosque Bill stopped along the trail to talk to some other birders, and I wandered away, looking at the beautiful, tiny butterflies that seemed to be everywhere in the park.

Spring Azure Butterfly on a Big Golden Pea Plant.

Spring Azure Butterfly on a Big Golden Pea Plant.

As I wandered away from the trail, Bosque Bill, thinking that I was ahead of him, hurried back to where we had agreed to meet. Not knowing that Bill was ahead of me, I wandered along at a leisurely pace, waiting for him to catch up with me. As I wandered along, I saw a number of birds to photograph.

Male Black-headed Grosbeak

Male Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay

At one point along the Nature Trail I could see the ruins through the trees across the floor of Frijoles Canyon.

Ancient Pueblo ruins, glimpsed through the trees.

Ancient Pueblo ruins, glimpsed through the trees.

As I walked along, wondering what had happened to Eric and Bill, I saw warblers, swallows, goldfinches and vireos flitting through the trees. I heard woodpeckers pounding on tree bark. It was a lovely, peaceful walk. When I reached our rendez-vous point, Eric and Bill were waiting patiently for me. We ate dessert, which we had not eaten with our lunch. I saw a Canyon Towhee at the edge of the picnic area.

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

After we finished our dessert we decided to walk around the lower parking lot where Bill had seen the Grace’s Warbler earlier in the day. Although we did not see the warbler, we did see a gorgeous Hepatic Tanager, our best bird of the day.

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager

Hepatic Tanager, another view.

As we left, we took the opportunity to look down into Frijoles Canyon from the road on the mesa above.

Frijoles Canyon

Frijoles Canyon seen from the mesa above the canyon.

Bandelier National Monument is a wonderful place to see both Ancient Pueblo culture and a nice variety of wildlife. Be sure to make time to visit when you come to New Mexico.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

Male Hepatic Tanager

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A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part I

This year my son Eric asked me what I’d like to do for Mother’s Day. After thinking about it a bit I decided that I’d like to go to Bandelier National Monument, a beautiful area in the Jemez Mountains with spectacular Ancestral Pueblo ruins, wildlife and birding.

We arrived at Frijoles Canyon rather late on a lovely Sunday morning. We were delighted to see that the main complex, which consists of a beautifully preserved and restored grouping of Pueblo Revival-style buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, had been re-opened.

Eric and I spent some time in the museum area of the Visitor’s Center, and we missed the Grace’s Warbler that Bosque Bill saw in the lower parking lot. Here is Bosque Bill’s lovely photo of the Grace’s Warbler collecting nesting material:

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We decided to enjoy our picnic lunch before setting out on the walk to the cliff dwellings and the nature trail. As we began our early lunch we noticed that we were not alone.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

There are many Ancestral Pueblo ruins to see along the ruins trail. Eric ran on ahead so that he could set up his tripod to take some HDR photos while Bosque Bill and I proceeded at a more leisurely pace.

Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

Interesting rock formation.

Interesting rock formation.

Cavates, or spaces carved from the volcanic tuff of the canyon wall by the Ancestral Pueblo people, served as their dwellings, kivas, and storage sites.

Cravate with ladder access.

Cravate with ladder access.

Talus House was reconstructed in 1920. Similar talus houses, built from rock debris at the bottom of the cliff, used to be in front of the other cavates. In some of the photos you can see depressions in the rock face where support beams were placed.

Talus House

Talus House

Talus House seen from the kiva.

Talus House seen from the kiva.

Long house, showing the construction in front of the cravates.

Long house, showing the construction in front of the cravates.

Looking up to the top of the cliff from Long House.

Looking up to the top of the cliff from Long House.

Preserved painting detail, Long House.

Preserved painting detail, Long House.

Common Raven's nest high in the cliffs.

Common Raven's nest high in the cliffs.

As we began walking along the Nature Trail, we looked carefully in the underbrush, hoping to see a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake as we did last summer at this same park, but we were unsuccessful. This is a photo of the one that I saw last summer:

Small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

We did, however, see lizards.

Western Whiptail

Western Whiptail

I really liked this Western Fence Lizard.

Western Fence Lizard

Western Fence Lizard

We did not walk over to Alcove house, which is quite impressive, because my knee was really starting to hurt. Here is a photo taken by my late husband on a trip to Bandelier several years ago. You can climb up the ladders and enter the cave. There is a lovely large kiva inside the cave.

Alcove Houe

Alcove House

In Part II of A Trip to Bandelier National Monument there will be birds, butterflies and a few more critters. Stay tuned.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Plumbeous Vireo on her nest.

Plumbeous Vireo on her nest.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Male Wood Duck,

Male Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck

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It’s All Happening at the Zoo

I buy a membership to the New Mexico Biopark every year. The Rio Grande Zoo, the Aquarium, the Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach are four facilities located next to the Rio Grande and connected by a train. In the past couple of weeks I have birded at the zoo.

There are fun sculptures at the zoo entrance.

Sign at the zoo entrance.

Just so we'll know where we are.

Greater Roadrunner with lizard.

Greater Roadrunner with lizard.

Javelina eating a cactus pad

Javelina eating a cactus pad.

There are exotic birds, ones not native to New Mexico.

Blue (Stanley's) Crane

Blue (Stanley's) Crane.

Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

Peafowl wander freely throughout the zoo.

Indian Blue Peacock

Indian Blue Peacock

Because the zoo is right next to the Rio Grande, there are native resident and migrating birds there as well.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Male Ring-necked Duck

Male Ring-necked Duck

Male Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck, showing beautiful iridescence.

Male American Wigeon

Male American Wigeon

Female American Wigeon

Female American Wigeon

Handsome male Mallard

Handsome male Mallard

Female Mallard on her nest.

Female Mallard on her nest.

Albuquerque Biopark

I do believe it, I do believe it’s true. . .

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