Monday, May 19, 2014

La Cueva Valley 5/15--Virginia's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Photo: Shari Zirlin
We were supposed to go birding with Bill West of Wingswest Birding on Tuesday, but that was the day of the snow and hail in Santa Fe. While it was annoying in Santa Fe, and certainly not ideal birding conditions, Bill had looked at the forecast for the mountains and there the weather was going to be untenable--on Tuesday Santa Fe National Forest got a foot of snow. Wisely, Bill had cancelled our trip a couple of days before and we rescheduled for Thursday.

We met Bill a little ways outside of Santa Fe and left our car at the Cafe Fina, where we picked up breakfast--if you're ever there, I highly recommend the bacon and date scone--if your blood sugar can take the shock. While discussing our target birds, Bill realized that his Subaru Outback wasn't going to have the clearance needed for the roads at the elevation we were going to have to climb to, so we drove to his house first so that he could switch cars for a 4WD vehicle. While we waited, he placed an iPad Nano atop his car and played a recording of Northern Pygmy Owl to see what would come in.

It's counter-intuitive; you would think birds would flee the sound of a predator. But they don't. They gather to investigate and to mob. Their instinct is not to flee but to harass the intruder until it flees.

Almost immediately birds came in, including Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee, a Black-throated Gray Warbler and a couple of Virginia's Warblers. (We have all the "girl warblers:" Lucy's, Virginia's, Grace's, and even Adelaide's from Puerto Rico.)

6 species
Black-billed Magpie  1
Mountain Chickadee  2
Red-breasted Nuthatch  2
Virginia's Warbler  2
Black-throated Gray Warbler  1
Chipping Sparrow  1

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