Mar 042014
 

Just this morning, as I walked Luke to the park, I thought about how we didn’t see our usual merlin (falcon) this winter. In years past, it occupied a particular telephone pole top almost every late afternoon from October to March. Not so this winter. Imagine my surprise when I spotted this merlin an hour later near the usual spot.

merlin (falcon) - mjh

merlin (falcon) - mjh
Death bows its head.

As I watched and photographed, the merlin left its prey and moved to a nearby tree. A scrub jay flew at it and the merlin flew around a bit before landing in another nearby tree. The jay went straight at the merlin and landed near it. A moment later, the merlin left the area. Drama on our street. Was the prey related to the jay?


Neighborhood Merlin is a post from Ah, Wilderness! . Let me know what you think. peace, mjh

 Posted by at 12:28 pm on Tue 03/04/14
Jun 012013
 

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.

our camper rig in site #14

hanging out at camp

hummingbird

Black Canyon Park Service webpage

CG details, site map, and reservations


Black Canyon Campground near Santa Fe, NM is a post from Ah, Wilderness! . Let me know what you think. peace, mjh

 Posted by at 7:32 pm on Sat 06/01/13
Apr 022013
 

The poet stands before a cage of birds,
contemplating his next words.
He snatches up a finch
and deftly dips its feet in ink,
stamping glyphs across the page.
All the while, the bird sings softly,
adding a common tone
to this pedestrian poem.
Returning the finch to its pen,
the poet mutters,
"I should have used a wren." mjh

11/24/2009

 Posted by at 12:47 am on Tue 04/02/13
Jan 302013
 

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.


You want to see hawks? Get thee to Estancia Basin pronto. is a post from Ah, Wilderness! . Let me know what you think. peace, mjh

 Posted by at 9:37 pm on Wed 01/30/13
Jan 262013
 

Spike shows off his tailWe’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.

 

 

Spike in the rainIt’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.


Spike the roadrunner is calling is a post from: Ah, Wilderness!. Thank you for subscribing. Let me know what you think. peace, mjh

 Posted by at 2:07 pm on Sat 01/26/13
Oct 032012
 

DSC09860

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:


Spike: the Movie is a post from: Ah, Wilderness!. Thank you for subscribing. Let me know what you think. peace, mjh

 Posted by at 9:58 am on Wed 10/03/12
Oct 022012
 

DSC09837I wrote about Spike the Roadrunner a month ago and here’s a little update with a few new photos (of the hundreds I’ve taken – he’s very photogenic, as you can see).

We had quite a scare a couple of weeks ago. Mer had fed Spike his morning mouse. We were standing within arm’s reach of Spike, who was perched on the wall between us and the neighbor’s yard. Suddenly, Spooky the black cat leapt from the far side of the wall and landed on Spike. It was as startling as any horror movie. Spike squawked, Mer shrieked, and I exclaimed, “Son of a Bitch!” to my own great surprise. Spike managed to fly off. Spooky disappeared – lucky for him, because I was stalking him brick in hand. Spike ran down the road toward Indian School and its traffic. We watched him run around the corner, so we knew he was probably OK but feared we’d never see him again.

To our great relief, Spike clattered for food from the rooftop the next morning. He looked a bit disheveled but uninjured. He doesn’t return every day or twice a day, as he used to, but we hope that means better chances for his survival.

DSC09838DSC09845


Spike the Roadrunner (an update) is a post from: Ah, Wilderness!. Thank you for subscribing. Let me know what you think. peace, mjh

 Posted by at 11:05 am on Tue 10/02/12