Monthly Archives: January 2011

Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Sandhill Crane silhouettes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Sandhill Crane silhouettes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Snow Geese at sunset, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Sandhill Cranes at sunset, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Sandhill Cranes at sunset, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Sandhill Cranes at sunset, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

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Bosque del Apache Landscapes

I love going to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. I feel very fortunate to live close enough that I can be there in about an 1 1/2 hours, which means that I can go there almost any time that I want to go. Usually I concentrate on photographing birds. Last weekend Bosque Bill and I went there, and I decided to take some photos to show what a beautiful place it is. There will still be birds, of course.

Looking east from the Flight Deck.

Looking east from the Flight Deck.


Looking to the west across the crane pools.

Looking to the west across the crane pools.


Looking to the east on the Farm Loop.

Looking to the east on the Farm Loop.


Looking to the east across the Farm Pond.

Looking to the east across the Farm Pond.


Looking to the northwest as the snow geese fly overhead.

Looking to the northwest as the snow geese fly overhead.


Waves of Snow Geese fly over the fields at Bosque del Apache.

Waves of Snow Geese fly over the fields at Bosque del Apache.


One of the crane pools at dusk.

One of the crane pools at dusk.


Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese fly in at sunset.

Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese fly in at sunset.

Sandhill Cranes fly in at sunset.

Sandhill Cranes fly in at sunset.


Sunset at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Sunset at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.


A view of sunset over the crane pools at Bosque del Apache.

A view of sunset over the crane pools at Bosque del Apache.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Black Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.


Black Rosy-Finches, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Black Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

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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.

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Kaua’i Birds, a Retrospective

I recently spent almost two weeks on the lovely island of Kaua’i. My son and I relaxed, snorkeled, surfed, body boarded and enjoyed the beautiful sights of the island. I enjoyed the birds on the island too. Here are the birds that I saw and photographed.

These birds waited outside the condo every morning hoping to receive some breakfast:

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), introduced in 1865, native to India.

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), introduced in 1865, native to India.


Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), introduced in 1865, native to India.

Common Myna flying in for a handout.


Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata), introduced in the late 1920's, native to South America.

Red-crested Cardinal (paroaria coronata), introduced in the late 1920's, native to South America.


Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea (Pluvialis fulva), native non-breeding visitor.

Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea (Pluvialis fulva), native non-breeding visitor.


Zebra Doves (Geopilia striata), introduced in the 1920's, native to Southeast Asia.

Zebra Doves (Geopilia striata), introduced in the 1920's, native to Southeast Asia.

There were urban and golf course birds.

Nene (Branta sandwicencensis)

Nene (Branta sandwicencensis). State bird of Hawai'i.


Nene chicks, Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii.

Nene chicks, Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii.


Common Moorhen, 'Alae 'ula (Gallinula chloropus) Native Hawai'ian subspecies.

Common Moorhen, 'Alae 'ula (Gallinula chloropus) Native Hawai'ian subspecies.


House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Introduced in late 1800's, native to Europe, Middle East.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Introduced in late 1800's, native to Europe, Middle East.


White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), introduced in 1931, native to Southeast Asia.

White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), introduced in 1931, native to Southeast Asia.


White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), introduced in 1931, native to Southeast Asia.

White-rumped Shama near the Lihue airport.


Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis Cardinalis), introduced in the late 1920's, native to North America.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis Cardinalis), introduced in the late 1920's, native to North America.


Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea, (Pluvialis fulva) native non-breeding visitor.

Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea, (Pluvialis fulva) native non-breeding visitor.


Black-necked Stilt, Hawai'ian Stilt, Ae'o (Himantopus knudseni), native Hawaiian endemic.

Black-necked Stilt, Hawai'ian Stilt, Ae'o (Himantopus knudseni), native Hawaiian endemic.


Cattle Egret (Bulbucus ibis), introduced in the late 1950's.

Cattle Egret (Bulbucus ibis), introduced in the late 1950's.


There were wonderful birds in the mountains.
Erckels Francolin (Francolinus erckelii), introduced in the late 1950's, native to East Africa.

Erckels Francolin (Francolinus erckelii), introduced in the late 1950's, native to East Africa.


'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea), native Hawai'ian bird, endemic.

'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea), sipping nectar from`ohia-lehua blossoms.


When I drove down the mountains to the coastline near Kekaha, there were acres of sunflowers fields. The sunflowers fields were feeding thousands of house finches.
House Finch, Papaya Bird (Carpodacus mexicanus), introduced in mid-19th century, native to North America.

House Finch, Papaya Bird (Carpodacus mexicanus), introduced in mid-19th century, native to North America.


Perhaps my favorite birds were the seabirds. Our trip to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge was memorable.
Great Frigatebird, 'Iwa (Fregata minor), native seabird.

Great Frigatebird, 'Iwa (Fregata minor), native seabird.


Laysan Albatross, Moli (Phoebastria immutabilis) Native Hawai'ian seabird.

Laysan Albatross, Moli (Phoebastria immutabilis) Native Hawai'ian seabird.


Red-footed Booby, 'A (Sula sula), native Hawai'ian seabird.

Red-footed Booby, 'A (Sula sula), native Hawai'ian seabird.


White-tailed Tropicbird, Koa'e Kea (Phaethon lepturus), native Hawai'ian seabird.

White-tailed Tropicbird, Koa'e Kea (Phaethon lepturus), native Hawai'ian seabird.

And of course everywhere we went we saw the Kaua’i chickens. We saw them in the cities …

Rooster in downtown Koloa, Kaua'i.

Rooster in downtown Koloa, Kaua'i.


… and in the mountains.
A hen with a large brood at Kalalau Lookout, Koke'e State Park, Kaua'i.

A hen with a large brood at Kalalau Lookout, Koke'e State Park, Kaua'i.

Other birds which I saw but was not able to photograph or neglected to photograph were: Spotted Dove (Steptopelia chinensis), introduced in the 1870′s, native to Southeast Asia; Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus), introduced in the 1930′s from Japan.

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