Tag Archives: Warbler

A Trip to Bandelier National Monument, Part I

This year my son Eric asked me what I’d like to do for Mother’s Day. After thinking about it a bit I decided that I’d like to go to Bandelier National Monument, a beautiful area in the Jemez Mountains with spectacular Ancestral Pueblo ruins, wildlife and birding.

We arrived at Frijoles Canyon rather late on a lovely Sunday morning. We were delighted to see that the main complex, which consists of a beautifully preserved and restored grouping of Pueblo Revival-style buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, had been re-opened.

Eric and I spent some time in the museum area of the Visitor’s Center, and we missed the Grace’s Warbler that Bosque Bill saw in the lower parking lot. Here is Bosque Bill’s lovely photo of the Grace’s Warbler collecting nesting material:

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We decided to enjoy our picnic lunch before setting out on the walk to the cliff dwellings and the nature trail. As we began our early lunch we noticed that we were not alone.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

There are many Ancestral Pueblo ruins to see along the ruins trail. Eric ran on ahead so that he could set up his tripod to take some HDR photos while Bosque Bill and I proceeded at a more leisurely pace.

Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

Kiva, Bandelier National Monument

Interesting rock formation.

Interesting rock formation.

Cavates, or spaces carved from the volcanic tuff of the canyon wall by the Ancestral Pueblo people, served as their dwellings, kivas, and storage sites.

Cravate with ladder access.

Cravate with ladder access.

Talus House was reconstructed in 1920. Similar talus houses, built from rock debris at the bottom of the cliff, used to be in front of the other cavates. In some of the photos you can see depressions in the rock face where support beams were placed.

Talus House

Talus House

Talus House seen from the kiva.

Talus House seen from the kiva.

Long house, showing the construction in front of the cravates.

Long house, showing the construction in front of the cravates.

Looking up to the top of the cliff from Long House.

Looking up to the top of the cliff from Long House.

Preserved painting detail, Long House.

Preserved painting detail, Long House.

Common Raven's nest high in the cliffs.

Common Raven's nest high in the cliffs.

As we began walking along the Nature Trail, we looked carefully in the underbrush, hoping to see a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake as we did last summer at this same park, but we were unsuccessful. This is a photo of the one that I saw last summer:

Small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Small Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

We did, however, see lizards.

Western Whiptail

Western Whiptail

I really liked this Western Fence Lizard.

Western Fence Lizard

Western Fence Lizard

We did not walk over to Alcove house, which is quite impressive, because my knee was really starting to hurt. Here is a photo taken by my late husband on a trip to Bandelier several years ago. You can climb up the ladders and enter the cave. There is a lovely large kiva inside the cave.

Alcove Houe

Alcove House

In Part II of A Trip to Bandelier National Monument there will be birds, butterflies and a few more critters. Stay tuned.

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Birding at Quarai

Quarai Mission Ruins

Birding safari buddy Bosque Bill and I went to Quarai Ruins at Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument near Mountainair, New Mexico, to participate in an International Migratory Bird Day bird walk. The walk was led by Hart Schwarz, neotropical bird specialist for the Cibola National Forest.

Quarai is about a one and one-half hour drive from Corrales and the Albuquerque North Valley. Bill and I arrived only a few minutes late and were happy to find that several people arrived after we did. We walked from the monument headquarters to a large grove of cottonwoods to begin our walk. As we stood around chatting and shivering in the 43 degree F. cold, we noticed that the cottonwoods above our heads were full of Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warblers. In fact, they were everywhere in large numbers throughout the walk. I am sure we saw well over 100 of them during the course of the day.

Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler (male)

As we left the cottonwood grove we walked through a field where Mountain Bluebirds were busily hunting insects.

Mountain Bluebird

There were Mountain Bluebirds in the trees as well,

Mountain Bluebird

along with more Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Another Yellow-rumped Warbler

We crossed a bridge over an arroyo. There was a pool of water in the arroyo, and I was lucky enough to get a (slightly out-of-focus) photo of a Gray Catbird just before it flew away.

Gray Catbird

We saw several Wilson’s Warblers throughout the day, but this is the only one I saw that was not deep inside a tree. It was too far away for a good photo, but you can see its little black yarmulke quite well.

Wilson's Warbler

There were many Yellow Warblers, including this pretty female,

Yellow Warbler (female)


and this beautiful male.
Yellow Warbler (male)

Yellow Warbler (male)


We saw quite a few Ladder-backed Woodpeckers too, which I wrote about yesterday.

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers

There were Dusky Flycatchers all along the arroyo.

Dusky Flycatcher

Everywhere we went there were more Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Yet another Yellow-rumped Warbler


On the way back, we were treated to the lovely sight of a Lazuli Bunting.

Lazuli Bunting


Lazuli Bunting


As we returned to the picnic area for lunch we saw a Black-headed Grosbeak. We had seen them earlier, but this one was close enough for a photo.

Black-headed Grosbeak


Black-chinned Hummingbird

We saw and heard many Broad-tailed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, but most were too far away for photos. I was able to get a photo of this Black-chinned male. At least you can tell that it’s a hummingbird.

Bill and I had a lovely day at Quarai. I expect to attend the International Migratory Bird Day celebration there again next year.

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