We saw a Mule Deer doe browsing quite close to the trail. She was not concerned about three photographers pointing long lenses at her, and she continued to consume a great deal of Gambel Oak as we photographed her.
This cute little Rock Squirrel paused next to the trail just long enough for me to take its photo.
I saw a lovely Abert’s Squirrel peeking at me from a branch of a Ponderosa Pine.
Bosque Bill stopped along the trail to talk to some other birders, and I wandered away, looking at the beautiful, tiny butterflies that seemed to be everywhere in the park.
As I wandered away from the trail, Bosque Bill, thinking that I was ahead of him, hurried back to where we had agreed to meet. Not knowing that Bill was ahead of me, I wandered along at a leisurely pace, waiting for him to catch up with me. As I wandered along, I saw a number of birds to photograph.
At one point along the Nature Trail I could see the ruins through the trees across the floor of Frijoles Canyon.
As I walked along, wondering what had happened to Eric and Bill, I saw warblers, swallows, goldfinches and vireos flitting through the trees. I heard woodpeckers pounding on tree bark. It was a lovely, peaceful walk. When I reached our rendez-vous point, Eric and Bill were waiting patiently for me. We ate dessert, which we had not eaten with our lunch. I saw a Canyon Towhee at the edge of the picnic area.
After we finished our dessert we decided to walk around the lower parking lot where Bill had seen the Grace’s Warbler earlier in the day. Although we did not see the warbler, we did see a gorgeous Hepatic Tanager, our best bird of the day.
As we left, we took the opportunity to look down into Frijoles Canyon from the road on the mesa above.
Bandelier National Monument is a wonderful place to see both Ancient Pueblo culture and a nice variety of wildlife. Be sure to make time to visit when you come to New Mexico.
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