Tag Archives: ducks

Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

American Wigeon male, Turtle Bay, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico

American Wigeon, Turtle Bay, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico

American Wigeon, Turtle Bay, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico.

American Wigeon, Turtle Bay, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico.

American Wigeon, Turtle Bay, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Juvenile male Wood Duck

Juvenile male Wood Duck

Juvenile female Wood Duck

Wood Ducks

Male and female juvenile wood ducks

Juvenile male Wood Duck.

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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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An Early Spring Visit to Bosque del Apache

A couple of weekends ago Bosque Bill and I went to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Winter is the usual time to visit the refuge because of the many Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese that winter there. Because birding has been pretty slow in northern New Mexico lately, we decided to travel to Bosque del Apache to see if there were any interesting birds.

It was a gorgeous early spring day. The light was beautiful.

A beautiful day at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

A beautiful day at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

At one pond along the Marsh Loop we saw several Black-necked Stilts wading and feeding.

Black-necked Stilts

Black-necked Stilts

In another pond on the Marsh Loop we saw Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants.

Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants

Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants.

Neotropic Cormorants

Neotropic Cormorants.

Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant

Juvenile Neotropic Cormorant;

There were quite a few Painted Turtles sunning themselves in the pond where we saw the cormorants.

Painted Turtles

Painted Turtles.

We saw Redheads in still another pond on the Marsh Loop …

Males and female Redhead

Males and female Redhead

… and Cinnamon Teal in the same pond.

Male and female Cinnamon Teal

Male and female Cinnamon Teal.

There was a Pied-billed Grebe in that pond too.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe.

As we continued around the Marsh Loop, we saw a pretty Say’s Phoebe in a New Mexico olive tree.

Say's Phoebe

Say's Phoebe.

A Red-tailed Hawk flew through the cottonwoods.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk.

There were many Northern Shovelers in the Farm Loop pond …

Male and female Northern Shovelers

Male and female Northern Shovelers.

… and there were many more Cinnamon Teal in the Farm Loop pond as well.

Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon Teal

We had been told at the Visitors’ Center that the Sandhill Cranes had left for the year, and so we were surprised to see several hundred Lesser Sandhill Cranes at the Crane Pools as we left the refuge.

Lesser Sandhill Cranes fly in at sunset.

Lesser Sandhill Cranes fly in at sunset.

We went to Bosque del Apache with few expectations, and we had a lovely time. The green chile cheeseburgers that we had for lunch at the Buckhorn Saloon were outstanding too!

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A New Mexican in Florida-Part VI

Faithful readers may recall my unhappiness at driving by a small neighborhood lake without stopping one morning at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. (See A New Mexican in Florida-Part III.) I had made a note of the location in a Titusville, Florida neighborhood where the lake was located, and I returned one morning with Donna and Melanie. Dawn and Jeff joined us there. There were over 100 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the lake.

Raft of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Raft of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

One of the neighbors saw us and came over to chat with us. He said that a pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks first appeared at the pond several years ago. He started feeding the ducks, and more ducks joined the first pair. He estimated that there were now over 100 ducks staying at the pond. There were occasional Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Wood Storks and Anhinga.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and friends.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and friends.

A Juvenile White Ibis bathes in the lake.

A Juvenile White Ibis bathes in the lake.

A friendly retired minister and his lovely wife strolled up and told us that they had lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years. The ducks often slept in their backyard under a large tree.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks sleeping under a tree in a neighborhood yard.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks sleeping under a tree in a neighborhood yard.

Because this was a small lake in a neighborhood, we were able to get quite close to the Roseate Spoonbills.

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

Roseate Spoonbill prepares for flight.

Roseate Spoonbill prepares for flight.

It was a lovely morning, and we sat on the bank of the lake, enjoying the sun and watching the birds.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck flies toward the island in the middle of the lake.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck flies toward the island in the middle of the lake.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks march up onto the island in the middle of the lake.

The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are named for the whistling noise that they make, and I made a video of them whistling. Unfortunately the lake is right next to I-95 so you can hear a great deal of traffic noise, but you can still hear the ducks.

If you are wondering what happened to Part V of this Florida series, you will find it over at my Photo Flurries blog.

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A New Mexican in Florida-Part III

One of the morning’s activities at the Space Coast Bird and Wildlife Festival was called Brevard Hot Spots. I assumed that the name referred to good birding spots in Brevard County. Perhaps it should have been called Brevard Cold Spots because the morning was very cold. We loaded ourselves onto a bus at 5:30 am, and we were taken somewhere out in the middle of nowhere and unloaded from the bus. Miserable birders stood around in the cold hoping that the sunrise would bring a bit of warmth and some birds.

Cold sunrise somewhere in Brevard County, Florida.

Cold sunrise somewhere in Brevard County, Florida.

As it got a bit lighter, a couple of birds flew out of the reeds in the cold, dim, morning light.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

But mostly we saw this:

Pond, no birds.

Pond, no birds.

Birders stood around with binoculars looking at distant sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers and a catbird. I felt my toes going numb as I looked without success for something to photograph.

We went to several more unproductive spots. Birders were desperately looking for bird-like forms.

Finally the bus drove by a small lake in a neighborhood that had many Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, some Roseate Spoonbills and a Wood Stork. Did we stop? No. I took a bad photo through the window of the moving bus.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Roseate Spoonbills and a Wood Stork.

Bad photo through moving window of moving bus.

I believed that things could not possibly get worse, but I was wrong. Our tour leader, who seemed intent on ticking off as many species as possible for the day, decided to take all 40 of us to his very small house. We tried to cram ourselves into his enclosed porch to see birds at his feeders. We were cautioned not to touch the blinds, which were almost closed. Perhaps 3 or 4 people could actually see birds. I was able to sort of see a male and female Painted Bunting through a screen door. Even in this spectacularly bad photo taken through a screen door you can see how beautiful the birds are.

Male and Female Painted Bunting

Male and Female Painted Bunting

I was feeling pretty disheartened at this point, but I perked up a bit when I learned that our next stop would be Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Our first stop was at this pond to look at ducks. Birders got out their spotting scopes and began to exclaim over the tiny dots, which they assured me were ducks.

Ducks, I think.

Ducks, I think.

I wandered away and began to look for birds to photograph.

Brown Pelican flying overhead.

Brown Pelican flying overhead.

Belted Kingfisher flying by.

Belted Kingfisher flying by.

Great Egret landing.

Great Egret landing.

After the birders had their fill of happily viewing duck dots through scopes, we got back on the bus and continued to Canaveral National Seashore. It is a truly beautiful, unspoiled place. In the parking lot I saw this handsome fellow sitting on a sign.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

He was obliging enough to sit for his portrait.

Black Vulture close-up.

Black Vulture close-up.

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We walked over the dune and onto the beach. I watched an Osprey hunting above the waves.

Osprey hunting above the waves.

Osprey hunting above the waves.

By the time we returned to our starting point, our group had seen 93 species of birds. I saw perhaps half that many. I learned that the type of birding where you go for big numbers is not my kind of birding. I like to stop and enjoy the birds. I would return to many of the places that I visited that day, and I would do it my way.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Northern Pintail female, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico


Northern Pintail female, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Northern Pintail female, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Northern Pintail female, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Northern Pintail male, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Northern Pintail male and female, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Northern Pintails and Sandhill Cranes, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.


Northern Pintails take flight, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

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An Autumn Visit to Bosque del Apache

Last weekend I was fortunate to have birding friends from Colorado come to New Mexico to visit. One place I always enjoy taking visiting birders is the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, which is located southeast of Socorro, New Mexico. Fall is a particularly lovely time to visit the refuge.

We arrived to find the bosque cottonwoods in full fall color.

Cottonwoods showing fall colors at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Cottonwoods showing fall colors at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

The pond at the north end of the refuge held thousands of Snow Geese.

Snow Geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Snow Geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.


Snow Goose at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Snow Goose at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.


Snow Geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Snow Geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge showing color morphs.

It was lovely to watch the Snow Geese against the fall colors.

Snow Geese flying past the cottonwoods at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Snow Geese flying past the cottonwoods at Bosque del Apache.


There were hundreds of Northern Pintails in the pond with the Snow Geese.
Female Northern Pintail, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Female Northern Pintail.


Male Northern Pintail, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Male Northern Pintail.


Male and female Northern Pintail, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Northern Pintail pair.

A Bald Eagle would occasionally circle the pond, causing the Snow Geese and Northern Pintails to take to the air amid a flurry of honking and quacking.

Bald Eagle takes flight at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Bald Eagle takes flight, disturbing the ducks and geese.


Snow geese take flight at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Snow geese take flight after being disturbed by a Bald Eagle.


Northern Pintails take flight at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

The Northern Pintails were disturbed by the Bald Eagle too.


Sandhill Cranes were in many of the shallow ponds in the refuge …
Sandhill Cranes and Northern Pintails at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Sandhill Cranes wade in a shallow pond as Northern Pintails fly by.

… and we watched them fly over our heads for most of the day.

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

Sandhill Cranes flew overhead for most of the day.

As we drove over to the crane pools to watch the evening fly-in, we saw a variety of birds.

American Kestrel at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

American Kestrel hovering.


Greater Roadrunner at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Greater Roadrunner surveys the terrain.


Lilian's Eastern Meadowlarks at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Lilian's Eastern Meadowlarks singing in the trees.


White-tailed Kite at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

White-tailed Kite, almost out of camera range.

As evening drew near we drove to the crane pools to watch the evening fly-in. There were not huge numbers of cranes there yet, but still, it is a wonderful spectacle.

Sandhill Cranes, evening fly-in at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Sandhill Cranes, evening fly-in.

Sandhill Cranes, evening fly-in at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

Sandhill Cranes coming in for a landing at the crane pools.


Sandhill Cranes, evening fly-in at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Sandhill Cranes circle in against the fading light.


As we left Bosque del Apache after a wonderful day, we watched a new moon set over the mountains to the west.
New moon at sunset north of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

New moon at sunset.


It was a wonderful day!

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