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.
The Canada Geese in the photo give you an idea of how small this little grebe is.
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.
A female Belted Kingfisher was hunting from the cottonwoods near the pond.
Female Belted Kingfisher
Even though it was overcast that day, the autumn colors were really spectacular.
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.
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.
An American Coot was very obliging in showing off his bright red eyes and red beak spot for us.
I was so happy to see that Hooded Mergansers are beginning to appear at the Nature Center.
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.
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.
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.
There were Ring-necked Ducks in the Candelaria Wetlands pond …
Male Ring-necked Duck
… and American Wigeon too.
Male American Wigeon
There is a beautiful view to the east across the Candelaria Wetlands pond to the Sandia Mountains.
Looking east towards the Sandias.
It was a lovely day at the Nature Center.