I’ve posted some text and a link to 21 photos of Wijiji, the southeastern-most ruin in Chaco Canyon.
Update to mjh’s Chaco website: Wijiji is a post from Ah, Wilderness! . Let me know what you think. peace, mjh
Photos from www.ahwilderness.com
Many years ago, I created a website to document my experiences in Chaco Canyon in the northwest corner of New Mexico in the southwestern United States. Chaco is a gorgeous and remote canyon that contains extensive ruins dating from 900 to 1100 BC (very roughly). The original structures were built by the people variously known as the Anasazi (per the Navajo and others), Ancestral Puebloans (by modern Puebloans), or Hisatsinom (per the Hopi). I’m now in the process of updating my site. At this time, you’ll find the following pages:
Content update consists primarily of photos taken over the past 10 years, though more text will follow, eventually.
Let me know what you think. peace, mjh
We camped near Santa Fe in a great little campground near the bottom of the ski basin road. Black Canyon CG has paved sites with great separation, clean outhouses, no hook-ups. It’s barely an hour from Albuquerque and near 8500 feet. There is a good trail out out of the campground and another to Hyde Park CG. There were lots of birds, lots of hummingbirds, even one magnificent hummingbird (twice the size of more common hummingbirds). See 20 photos.
Merri notes, “After reading Judy Liddell’s bird report for the Estancia Basin, we headed to Clements Road just south of I-40 and just outside of Estancia. Wide-open ranches dominate the landscape out there. Driving and walking down dirt roads, we saw more than TWENTY ferruginous hawks, 4 rough-legged hawks, 2 red-tails, 2 golden eagles, some kestrels, a merlin, 2 shrikes, tons of horned lark, and 30+ antelope. We walked across ranch land and down a country road.”
I’ll add that we had never knowingly seen ferruginous nor rough-legged hawks, making these lifers for us both. In fact, we saw so many of each in so many poses that it was a field-lesson. It made for a beautiful day trip.
After seeing all those hawks on our main walks of the day, we looked for Cienega Draw on Willow Lake Rd, which seem to me imaginative, not descriptive, in this oh-so dry landscape. That detour did take us past the Thunder Chicken Ranch, a great name for an ostrich farm.
We drove farther south toward the two large-ish lakes that appear on the map south of the correctional facility. One lake was full of snow — surprising with the temp above 50 — but no liquid. Before we got to the second lake, a Cadillac Esplanade pulled up next to us. The woman driving asked if we were lost. No, I said, we’re bird-watching and thought the lakes might have something. She seemed surprised, then said sometimes they see cranes. I said I thought this was a public road and she said, yes, a little farther until the gate to the Wrye Ranch, which we saw the northern edge of at Clements Rd — quite a large spread. She drove on and immediately after her Mr Wrye stopped in his truck, "You need help?" he asked and I said, no, we’re just out for a drive. They were polite and offering help is neighborly but they were likely suspicious of strangers on "their" road. After they passed, we went on to the gate and turned around. If there is a second lake, it is behind a very high berm on the south side of the road.
Returning to pavement, we stopped where cottonwoods bordered what may have once been a house, now just some rubble. Mer saw a bird land. She got out and took photos of a merlin, yet another bird of prey to end our day. peace, mjh
PS- I recommend Judy Liddell’s blog, It’s a Bird Thing…, as well as her book, Birding Hot Spots of Central New Mexico. If you can’t join her on a weekly birding trip, you can walk in her footsteps, as we have several times.
PPS- Real birders or twitchers (in Great Britain) keep lots of lists, including at least one Life List. I’m a bird watcher, not a birder. My Life List only includes birds I’ve photographed.
We’ve been interacting with Spike the roadrunner for about 6 months. We see him almost daily. He’s not a pet – he’s leery of us, as he should be – but we know each other.
Spike has recently started calling, a sound we’ve never heard before. We’re familiar with the roadrunner call that sounds much like a mourning dove only more mournful. This call is a loud whoop. You can hear it in the first short video. I took the second video immediately after the call.
It’s warm and rainy in Albuquerque today – to call that unusual is tragic understatement. Spike has hunkered down on his rock in the front yard in a pose that reminds me of green herons or black-crowned night herons – no neck.
I fed Spike, the roadrunner a mouse. He carried the mouse about 10 feet from me. Just then, a merlin swooped in to within inches of Spike. Spike dropped the mouse and ran. The merlin flew over my head. All of this happened in a second and without a sound. I lifted my jaw from the ground. The merlin landed on the telephone pole behind our house. Binocs showed the merlin didn’t have the mouse, which was still where Spike dropped it.
The next time I fed Spike, he dropped the mouse and walked away – something he has never done. He came back after a minute. He’s learned it’s a jungle out there, even in the desert.
This occurred three days after we watched a merlin take a white-winged dove around the corner from us.
Let’s begin at the end of the tale: Don’t watch these short movies if you live in Disneyland. The first one is shorter (40 sec) with more behavioral displays – pause to see the riot of feathers. The second one is longer (2 min) with more tenderizing (and traffic noise).
Spike’s continuing story: