September 28, 2009

New Mexico-July 21-Day 3

When the sun rose over the New Mexico plains, I got out of the motor home and immediately found a life bird. The Western Bluebirds (life bird 316, 3rd of trip) were numerous in a small pasture behind the camp area. Although I did not have great looks, I saw them just well enough to identify them. While on the interstate on the way to Albuquerque I also saw some new birds including Chihuahuan Ravens (life bird 317, 4th of trip) which were fairly numerous at times. A Curve-billed Thrasher (life bird 318, 5th of the trip) was perched upon a fence north of Las Vegas, NM. Due to the speed at which we were going I only had enough time to identify them but not get photos.
A stop at a rest area revealed some neat birds, although none of them were lifers. The Say's Phoebe was one of the birds I saw.
A Northern Mockingbird popped into view for a short time as well. I have seen both the phoebe and the mockingbird only once before in my life.
After the rest stop I saw my first Greater Roadrunner (life bird 319, 6th of the trip) sitting on a hillside south of Las Vegas, NM. Not long after we passed Santa Fe we made it into the city of Albuquerque. This was a foreign place to me. It was very "desertish" there and most of the houses were adobe style, nether of these things apply to where I live. We made it to a retreat house and were dropped off. Here we met with 60 other boys from across the country. We were all going on a "religious retreat" before we headed off to hike in the mountains. All of the boys were boy scouts and were chosen by their area "representatives" to go on this trip. The religious theme was carried throughout the trip. The retreat house had a great view of the Rio Grande River and of Sandia Crest, a mountainous area east of town. The room I stayed in on the second and highest floor had a great view of the area shown in the picture above. Just down the hall from my room is a sun porch which gives you an unobstructed view of the city. I got my picture taken there in the evening.There was a small yard there that had plenty of things to see including some roadrunners (first picture in post), Black-chinned Hummingbirds (life bird 320, 7th of the trip) Bushtits (life bird 321, 8th of the trip, pictured). A Rufous Hummingbird (life bird 322, 9th of the trip) buzzed by the retreat house.
Later that night my two friends and I were split up and put into different groups. There were seven groups overall. Mine had 10 boy scouts, a priest, and a seminarian. My group had people from California (2 people/one LA, one San Diego), Louisiana, New Jersey, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri. The priest (was in the Navy) was from Long Island, NY and the seminarian was from California (originally from Phoenix). My nickname came pretty quickly-it was no surprise that it was Birdman. Birds weren't the only things there to see, I also saw a Desert Cottontail (new for me) and some kind of beetle.

More coming tomorrow.

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