Category Archives: Rio Grande Nature Center

Wings on Wednesday

This would normally be a Wordless Wednesday post. However, several weeks ago Roberta Beyer, owner of The Fat Finch, asked me to lead a photo workshop as an event for her wonderful birding store. I happily agreed, and I wondered if anyone would attend. The event proved popular far beyond our expectations. I recruited favorite birding friend Bosque Bill to assist me, and Roberta recruited two more photographers. Our little group met at The Fat Finch early this past Saturday morning. After a basic “How to operate your camera” talk by Bosque Bill we set off to photograph birds. Everyone had a wonderful time, and most participants learned how to move their cameras off of the automatic settings.

Here are some photos of birds that I took during the workshop:

Sandhill Crane portrait, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane portrait

Sandhill Crane portrait, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane portrait, another view.

Sandhill Cranes, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Cranes fly into the Rio Grande Nature Center.

Sandhill Crane, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane coming in for a landing.

Spotted Towhee, Rio Grande Nature Center

Spotted Towhee

Canada Goose portrait, Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Goose portrait

Canada Goose enjoying the sun, Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Goose enjoying the sun

It was a fine workshop put on by New Mexico’s best birding store. Be sure to visit The Fat Finch when you’re in the Albuquerque area!

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Male Hooded Merganser, New Mexico bird photography, Rio Grande Nature Center,

Male Hooded Merganser, New Mexico bird photography

Hooded Mergansers, New Mexico bird photography, Rio Grande Nature Center, Albuquerque New Mexico birds

Male Hooded Mergansers, New Mexico bird photography, Rio Grande Nature Center, Albuquerque New Mexico birds

Male Hooded Merganser, New Mexico bird photography, Rio Grande Nature Center,

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Hummingbird Chicks at the Rio Grande Nature Center

It has been extremely dry in New Mexico this year. There have been many terrible fires that have caused a great deal of damage. Because of the extreme fire damage, many of the areas that I like to visit to watch and photograph birds and wildlife have been closed to the public. Last weekend, after I visited a local Farmer’s Market, I decided to see if the Rio Grande Nature Center was open. The nature center and the grounds around it were open, although the part that extends into the Rio Grande Bosque was closed. While I was walking around the grounds, I saw quite a few Black-chinned Hummingbirds. One landed on a branch fairly close to me. As I stopped to observe her, I noticed that she had two chicks in a nest near where she landed. The nest was inside a large bush, and the lighting conditions were not the best. However, I was able to take a number of photographs.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, another angle.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Waiting for Mom to come back to the nest.

I hoped that if I stayed quietly near the nest, the mother hummingbird would return to feed the chicks. I stood quietly and waited, and she arrived within five minutes.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center

Mom hummingbird arrives at the nest.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center,.

Feeding one of the chicks.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

The second chick looks impatient.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

The other chick is fed.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

An un-cropped photo shows how tiny the nest really is.

Apparently when Mom Hummingbird is not taking care of the chicks she can be found hanging out at the local bar.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rio Grande Nature Center

Local hummingbird bar.

When I stopped by the Rio Grande Nature Center a little more than a week later, the chicks had fledged and the nest was deserted. I will check back to see if this little hummingbird mom will raise more chicks this year.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Canada Geese Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Geese Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Geese Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Geese Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Goose Rio Grande Nature Center

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Autumn at the Rio Grande Nature Center

One of my favorite places in the Albuquerque area for birding, walking and clearing my head is the Rio Grande Nature Center. This fall I went on two separate days to take photos. The first time that I went, the rumored appearance of an Horned Grebe was a major attraction. Sure enough, this cute little water bird was swimming in the Candelaria Wetlands pond. Bosque Bill and I were able to get excellent views of this lovely little bird.

Horned Grebe at the Candelaria Wetlands pond.

Horned Grebe at the Candelaria Wetlands pond.

Horned Grebe, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Horned Grebe

The Canada Geese in the photo give you an idea of how small this little grebe is.

Horned Grebe and Canada Geese

Horned Grebe and Canada Geese

When we walked over to the Visitor’s Center pond, we were delighted to see a Double-crested Cormorant posing nicely for us.

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

A female Belted Kingfisher was hunting from the cottonwoods near the pond.

Female Belted Kingfisher

Female Belted Kingfisher

Even though it was overcast that day, the autumn colors were really spectacular.

Fall colors at the Rio Grande Nature Center.

Fall colors at the Rio Grande Nature Center.

When I went back two weeks later with friends from Colorado, the first thing we saw when we walked into the Nature Center was the little face of a Pocket Gopher peeking out of his hole.

Pocket Gopher

Pocket Gopher

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the Painted Turtles and Red-eared Sliders were enjoying the nice weather at the Visitor Center pond.

Painted Turtles and Red-eared Sliders

Painted Turtles and Red-eared Sliders.

An American Coot was very obliging in showing off his bright red eyes and red beak spot for us.

American Coot

American Coot

I was so happy to see that Hooded Mergansers are beginning to appear at the Nature Center.

Male Hooded Merganser at the Visitor Center pond, Rio Grande Nature Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Male Hooded Merganser

We walked across the Bosque Trail and over to the Rio Grande. Although we didn’t see any birds, the views across the river to the bosque on the other side were lovely. You can see the volcanoes on Albuquerque’s West Mesa in the distance.

Looking across the Rio Grande to the Bosque.

Looking across the Rio Grande to the Bosque.

Closer view of the volcanoes

Closer view of the volcanoes.

Afterwards, we walked over to the Candelaria Wetlands pond. There were many Canada Geese on the pond, flying over the pond, and taking off from and landing on the pond.

Canada Geese, Candelaria Wetlands pond, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Canada Geese

Canada Goose flying over the Candelaria Wetland pond, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Canada Goose

The geese were coming right up to the blind, which is located at the east end of the parking lot.

Canada Goose at the Candelaria Wetlands pond blind.

Canada Goose at the Candelaria Wetlands pond blind.

There were Ring-necked Ducks in the Candelaria Wetlands pond …

Male Ring-necked Duck at the Visitor Center pond, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Male Ring-necked Duck

… and American Wigeon too.

Male American Wigeon at the Candelaria Wetlands pond

Male American Wigeon

There is a beautiful view to the east across the Candelaria Wetlands pond to the Sandia Mountains.

Sandia Mountains seen looking east across the Candelaria Wetlands pond.

Looking east towards the Sandias.

It was a lovely day at the Nature Center.

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