Monday, May 19, 2014

Santa Fe Canyon Preserve 5/10--Juniper Titmouse, Wilson's Warbler, Canyon Towhee

Photos: Shari Zirlin
(click photo to read sign)
Next to the Audubon Society, my favorite non-profit organization is the Nature Conservancy. I like their approach: Instead of moaning and groaning about how land should be protected or conserved, instead of trying to convince government, businesses, and private landowners to act responsibly, they instead just buy the land and set it aside. It is like thumbing nose at those you know would just love to have the land for a golf course/business park/housing development/nuclear dump.

I didn't know the Conservancy had a sense of humor too.

The Santa Fe Canyon Preserve is adjacent to the Davey property. It is the site of the original dams and reservoirs for Santa Fe and where the Santa Fe River is still somewhat controlled. Two Mile Pond is what is left of the original reservoir. It looks to likely habitat for shorebirds and ducks. American Coots were a surprise. The only ducks were Mallards. Red-winged Blackbirds were also in evidence.

We took the "muddy" portion of the trail on the way in. It wasn't muddy at all. While on the dried mud saw a flash of yellow jump up out of bush and when we were able to relocate it, Shari identified a Wilson's Warbler. I remember in California She was really good at finding Wilson's Warblers.

Black-headed Grosbeak
All along the trail we heard a song like a robin's. Robin are in NM, but the songs we were hearing were those of  Black-headed Grosbeaks. The description of the song is "like a robin with a cold." I think that's how they identify Scarlet Tanagers around here, while the grosbeak's cousin, the Rose-breasted, supposedly sounds like a robin on steroids.

It wasn't until we were back at the parking lot that we snagged our next two year birds. Shari found a titmouse in a bush and dismissed it until I told her that
A) Tufted Titmouse is not in NM and
B) Juniper Titmouse (which this was) is a life bird for her. (I previously had it in another life when I visited southern NM)

We were just about ready to go when I wandered over to a tree where I had seen movement in the low branches. The bird jumped around quite a bit, then dropped to the ground. It had the silhouette and long tail of a towhee, but it wasn't the very common Spotted Towhee. The rufous cap, dark spot on the breast, and rufous vent cinched the i.d.: Canyon Towhee.

So while we didn't get a huge list, between the two spots I thought we did respectably.

13 species
Mallard  3
American Coot  2
Western Scrub-Jay  1
Violet-green Swallow  3
Juniper Titmouse  1
Bushtit  4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Wilson's Warbler  1
Spotted Towhee  4
Canyon Towhee  1
Song Sparrow  1    Heard
Black-headed Grosbeak  2
Red-winged Blackbird  5

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