On the way to Santa Fe NF we drove through the little town of Pecos. On Main Street Bill pointed out a few Brewer's Blackbirds on the sidewalk. He said they were becoming rarer as they lost out in their competition with grackles. For some reason, Brewer's wasn't on my "birdar" this trip, so seeing them was a pleasant surprise.
The next bird wasn't expected either. As we continued on the road Bill yelped "PINYON JAY," and stopped the car. I figured we'd missed it, but he said they usually traveled in flocks and as he was saying it, first 2 more, than another, than 4 more flew across the road. Pinyon Jay, he informed us, was getting harder to find, as they subsist almost entirely on the nuts of the Pinyon Pine (Pine Pine) and those trees have been severely diminished by a number of huge forest fires. So, a totally unexpected life bird. The trip was starting out great.