The Short Grass Prairie

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:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Lilian's Eastern Meadowlark

Cassin's Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Loggerhead Shrike

Say's Phoebe

Lesser Prairie Chickens

The birds seemed to enjoy old farm equipment on an abandoned farm.

Canyon Towhee

Curve-billed Thrasher

I was surprised to see Blue-winged Teal on a small pond at an abandoned farm . . .

Blue-winged Teal

. . . and even more surprised to see these birds walking across the prairie.

Long-billed Curlew

Of course there were animals too.


Mule deer

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!

Burrowing Owl in a Black-tailed Prairie Dog colony

I grew up in the Pecos River Valley in the short grass prairie of Southeastern New Mexico. It is always a pleasure to return.

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Filed under New Mexico birds

7 responses to “The Short Grass Prairie

  1. wonderful photos Linda

    love the meadowlark’s colors


  2. Fantastic photos! I still love that Curve-billed Thrasher and that Flycatcher is a beautiful bird.

  3. Great shots Linda..and may I say you were a born blogger..
    Your really catching on mega fast..checking out your sidebar etc! A slideshow..damn are one fast learner… Nature blog network member! wow..ok wheres your RT button? did i miss it? hee hee

    • Thanks Lovely Dawn. Put off doing a blog for a long time because it seemed like a lot of work, and now I have three. I’m still trying to figure out how everything works. If there’s a RT button for a WordPress blog I haven’t found it yet. If I find one I’ll add it. 🙂

  4. Linda, sounds like a wonderful day spent at Llano Estacado. I enjoyed viewing your photos, especially the fabulous Lesser Prairie Chickens and beautiful Lilian’s Eastern Meadowlark. Great post!

  5. Love this post – really gives you the feeling of visiting the short grass prairie!

  6. Another great post Linda!!

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