Black-throated Blue Warbler at City View Park (10/12/20) – Shannon Caruso

Went to City View Park off Copper, just East of Tramway and saw the male Black-Throated Blue Warbler. Got some photos. He was hanging around a little flock of Chipping Sparrows and a Yellow-Rumped Warbler on the southwest area of the park. He was feeding on the ground much of the time and posed for some photos on a pathway 😊. Yesterday (10/10/20), according to reports, he was hanging around the Northwest area of the park and at first today was about in the center. At one point, he was sitting on the concrete wall. Yesterday someone reported seeing a female as well, but I never saw one and neither did 3 others that joined me later. Such a thrill!

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

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Birding Valle de Oro NWR on Foot (10/5/20) – Judy Liddell

As I pulled into the parking area near the entrance of the Valle de Oro NWR, I saw a woman with binoculars and camera talking with a man, and he was gesturing what appeared to be directions. She took off in the direction he was pointing…

Lark Sparrow

The following link will take you to Judy’s blog posting

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Fall Birds at Elena Gallegos Open Space (9/29/20) – Judy Liddell

Fall Birds at Elena Gallegos Open Space
By judysjottings August 22, 2020

Barb Hussey, Bonnie Long and I explored fall birds at Elena Gallegos Open space on September 24. As we got out of our cars at the parking area where the Cottonwood Trail starts, we could hear the chatter of Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays announcing their presence as they moved around…

Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay

The following link will take you to Judy’s blog posting

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Coyote del Malpais (9/19/20) – Joe Schelling

Trying to think of a different place to go birding last week, it came to me that Coyote del Malpais Golf Course in Grants might be good. eBird confirmed that idea, with Phil Chaon’s report of 70 species there from September 7. Birding has been excellent the few other times I’ve been in the past, but somehow I rarely think of making the 1 1/2 hour drive to get there. Looking at the Burrowing Owl from this Spring I remembered Kim Score had planned an April 19th CNMAS Monthly Field Trip, and Ken Zaslow a Thursday Birder trip for April 23rd, both cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On a Friday morning, there were a fair number of golfers on the course, some with their masks, but once away from the clubhouse it was easy to keep your distance from any other people. It’s quite a large area (the course itself is more than 4 miles long) with several large ponds and good natural habitat for birds.
Rebecca Gracey and I spent a couple hours there walking around the central part of the golf course and seeing an impressive number and variety of birds. As typical lately, there were ridiculous numbers of Wilson’s Warblers, but we’d also see Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Townsend’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Black-throated Gray Warbler

The ponds had plenty of American Avocet, White-faced Ibis, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, and others.

White-faced Ibis

A Northern Harrier and a falcon (possibly Prairie?) flew by, and we’d see several sparrow species, including Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow. A highlight of the day was spotting a bird that “looked different,” but we couldn’t quite figure out until getting some expert opinion – a non-breeding/immature Chestnut-collared Longspur.

Chestnut-collared Longspur

To get there, take I-40 to exit 89 and Rt.66 for 4.6 miles; right on Sakelares Blvd. for 0.8 miles, and right on George Hanosh Blvd for 1.0 mile.

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The Master of Disguise (9/7/20) – Susan Hunter

We have been having an extraordinary migration season this fall with plenty of places to see so many warblers, shorebirds and flycatchers. But one species has fooled me at least three times in the past two weeks: the innocuous Western Wood-Pewee. It has flashed shades of yellow, white and gray that take on aspects of other birds for me. It disguised itself as an Olive-sided Flycatcher in the cloudy morning light of the La Cienega picnic area a week ago. After a hot hike in Tijeras Canyon, I mistook it for the Eastern Phoebe, because I wanted to see the phoebe badly. The bright belly reflected the green light of the trees and ponds at the 4 Hills County Club. This was a real birding mistake. Finally, the other day I wondered on “What’s This Bird” if it was a Willow Flycatcher, although I did have my doubts. Nope. When I saw the little guys on a high branch and the context was “correct” I had no problem with identification.
The lesson I have learned is that I will be calling out Pewee first from now on (and ask questions later). Dull brown back, pale feathers in front, heads turned away from me and shadows added to my confusion. Maybe I’ll remember this birding experience during next fall’s migration.

Western Wood-Pewees

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Bonnie Long and Simms Ranch 2020 Reports (8/23/20) – Bonnie Long

In lieu of the usual summer Thursday Birder visit and potluck to the Simm’s Ranch and Bonnie Long & Don Giles home, cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions, Bill Simms and Bonnie Long provided write-ups of their 2020 bird nesting observations. You can read their reports by clicking the following links. (Note that they are large PDF files (16 Mb and 13 Mb) and may not download quickly; each opens in a new window.) The authors welcome any questions you may have.

Bonnie’s Report: Long_Giles_2020_Bird Season.pdf

Bill’s Report: Simms_Ranch_2020_Bluebird_Season.pdf

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Ellis Trail to Upper Tram (8/20/20) – Judy Liddell

Migration Highlights – Ellis Trailhead to Upper Tram
By judysjottings August 22, 2020

We needed to get out of the heat and wildfire smoke lingering at lower elevations, Barbara Hussey and I headed for the Ellis Trailhead on August 20. Our plan was to bird along the service road to the upper tram.

Migration was in full swing. We had our first Wilson’s Warbler before heading south from the parking lot.

Wilson’s Warbler

The following link will take you to Judy’s blog posting

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Kiwanis Meadow Trail (8/13/20) – Sarah Peterson

A small group of birders visited the Kiwanis Meadow trail off the Sandia Crest Road today in search of the American Three-toed woodpecker. The Kiwanis trail is about 200 yards south on the Ellis trail from the parking lot.

While we were unsuccessful in our search for the woodpecker we had a great time and saw many other birds; a plus was the the weather which was cool and such a relief from the heat of Albuquerque. Mountain Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos were very plentiful. Ruby- crowned Kinglets abounded and even an Golden-crowned Kinglet showed up. We had trouble deciding on the bird of the day but I think it was the family of Brown Creepers others thought it might have been the White-throated Swifts near the cabin.

BTW, the small group wore masks the entire time.

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Birding Sulphur Picnic Area in Mid-August – Judy Liddell

The following link will take you to Judy’s blog posting of her recent birding trip to Sulphur Picnic Area:

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Mars Court – Glenda Morling

Name of birding area: Mars Court Trailhead

Date of visit: July 7th, 2020


Mars Court is off the NM337 about ten miles south of the I-40. After the turning to Oak Flats on the east side of the road, take Raven Road for around a mile and and Mars Court will be on your right.

National Forest link to status and trail map for Mars Court:

General information about the area – terrain/ habitat/ length of trail: A mix of conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs, including Ponderosa pines, pinon, juniper and oaks. It is cooler than in the valley, with a mix of shade and sunny areas, but it can get hot by mid-morning at this time of year. There is some easy walking and some areas where it is a little rocky underfoot, as well as some inclines. We took a one and three quarter mile walk.

Our walk: There is a fair size parking lot and two main trails. A map of the trails is on a notice board in the parking lot. One trail goes through the closed gates down the unpaved road starting on a shallow slope; the second trail – Wild Turkey – is narrower and on the left (west), as you go into the parking lot. This one is slightly rocky underfoot and winds down into David Canyon. We took Wild Turkey trail. It was very productive after the first couple of hundred yards: we saw a variety of birds including Chipping Sparrows, Plumbeous Vireos, White-breasted Nuthatches and Pygmy Nuthatches.

We continued down the hill into the canyon basin and saw Spotted Towhees, Brown Headed Cowbirds, Western Wood-Peewees, Black-headed Grosbeak, House Finches and Hairy Woodpeckers en route. At the bottom of the canyon, we turned right and walked along the basin. It is sunny and meadow-like here. We saw at least one family of Western Wood-Peewees, and Cassin’s Kingbirds while walking along this area. Before we turned right back up the trail to the parking lot, we saw Violet-green Swallows feeding a young one in a tiny crevice of a dead tree on our right.

The unpaved road back up to the parking lot has an incline – not too steep, but we noticed the climb in the heat!


Two baby Violet-green Swallows waiting to be fed.

Cassin’s Kingbird – one of three we saw.

Final Thoughts:

We recommend this area. It is fairly quiet, which is important while social distancing. It is an interesting and productive birding location, with a variety of habitat and terrain. We have been back a few times since our first visit, and always see something different and interesting.

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