Monday, May 19, 2014

Bandelier National Monument 5/14--Acorn Woodpecker, White-throated Swift, Gray Flycatcher, Rock Wren, MacGillivray's Warbler

Back to sightseeing/birding, this time 45 miles to the northeast, passing parts of the Los Alamos National Laboratories. Just slightly eerie driving through territory where the atomic bomb was a baby.

We had barely gotten past the entrance to Bandelier National Monument and birds started to appear, the best being an Acorn Woodpecker. It is a 3 1/2 mile drive to the Visitor's Center and we picked up some common birds along the way.

Bandelier is the sight of an ancient pueblo, a "city-state" carved from the soft sandstone of the sheer cliffs more than a thousand years ago. It thrived and then was abandoned. No one knows why the people disappeared. There are many theories; apparently "wising up" is not one of them. They did, after all, enter some dwellings through the roof. Maybe they visited neighbors down on the plains and discovered the door.

The Parks Service has ladders on which you climb into some of the "apartments." Not bad; in New York City you could probably rent them out for $5000 a month.

As we walked up the undulating path and stairs to the dwellings, we heard chirping overhead and looking up discovered a flock of White-throated Swifts swirling above. They nest on the rocky cliffs.

After lunch we walked the "Falls Trail" which starts off pretty easy, but then crosses the river twice (on planks) and goes into "wilderness" where the path gets steep and rocky, leading to the eponymous falls which eventually debouches into the Rio Grande. Heavy flooding has wiped out the trail beyond the falls, not that we were going to make that trek. Along this path of about 1 1/4 miles we found some interesting birds.
17 species 
Turkey Vulture  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
White-throated Swift  1
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Gray Flycatcher  1
Common Raven  1
Juniper Titmouse  1
Bushtit  1
Rock Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  1
MacGillivray's Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)  1
Canyon Towhee  1
Western Tanager  4
Black-headed Grosbeak  4
Lesser Goldfinch  1
Rock Wren
Gray Flycatcher
Western Tanager
Bird photos: Shari Zirlin

No comments:

Post a Comment