Update on the Rosy-Finches of Sandia Crest, New Mexico. The flag has stopped waving. Although individuals or a few finches have been seen since April 4th, there have been no appreciable flocks. One Black Rosy-Finch was coming in for seed on April 8. Feeders and sighting logs were removed April 9th. Report any late sightings directly by e-mail to Ken.
All good things must come to an end, but happily, the seasons do cycle and the rosy-finches will be back in only 6 1/2 months. Allowing time for migration, they spend about as much time at Sandia Crest as on their breeding grounds. This has been a most impressive rosy-finch season at Sandia Crest. It has been a wonderful year for the skiers, and the snowcap promises more than adequate recharging of the Sandia aquifier.
The springs will run fresh and quick in the small canyon where the Northern Goshawk will soon be nesting, and water will overflow at the Capulin Spring “Bird Log.” It has not been a great year for Cassin’s Finches, Red Crossbills, Pine Grosbeaks or Clark’s Nutcrackers, but they invade so unpredictably that this should not get us down. There is always “next year.” Surprisingly, this winter I received NO reports of Northern Pygmy-Owl sightings along the Crest Road, despite their predictable presence at Capulin Spiring and the Sandia Peak ski lift base in past years.
As surely as the excitement of the Crest House extravaganza diminishes, birding in the East Mountains will start warming up. The Violet-green Swallows and White-throated Swifts should now be cruising the mountain heights, and Scott’s Oriole is already looking for a nesting site in Tres Pistolas. The American Three-toed Woodpeckers are daring us to find them as they peel away the bark just to the south of Sandia Crest House. The hummingbird feeders will be out (daytime only, to the consternation of the Black Bears) on the deck.
The nice thing for birders about the Sandias is that there is never a “down time.” While not as spectacular as Southeastern Arizona, our birding is nonetheless exciting.There are enough varied habitats in the Albuquerque area to keep a birder busy for at least a week just to visit them all, in any season.
Our Red-breasted Mergansers (entire series of posts with photos and observations here) abandoned us last week, so we were happy to see the terns today. Let’s admit it– we are bird watchers. We enjoy their activities, interactions and the rhythm of their life cycles. Yes, we will go out of our way to see a rarity, and rejoice when we succeed, but we recognize our limitations (and the price of gas, not to mention our dislike for traffic and gridlock) and extract every bit of enjoyment possible out of the common and (to some) the mundane inhabitants of the bird world.
Northeasterly winds and heavy rains the past couple of days have kept down the migratory exodus from Cuba, but yesterday, “against the winds,” BADBIRDZ caught radar images of flocks squeaking up the western coast of South Florida the previous night, just ahead of some imposing storms that were attacking from the southwest. The good thing about these conditions is that they may cause northbound birds to pile up and then burst forth across the Florida Straits, and soon enough, into the woods and fields and backyards of everyone along the major eastern flyways. So, keep tuned to BADBIRDZ to see if migration picks up.
This morning, just after 7:00 AM EDT, the Miami radar showed another “donut” of (presumably wading) birds expanding/radiating outward from the same area of the Everglades as I noted previously. This time I was unable to save the image and do not know how to retrieve it from the National Weather Service archives. The archives at UCAR did produce a corresponding loop, but the display was cluttered and the “donut” was barely visible. (Note: the UCAR link becomes inactive after about 6 days).
May through October,
TUESDAY MORNING GUIDED BIRD WALKS
in the Sandia
U.S. Forest Service and Central New Mexico
Birders meet at 8:00 a.m. (8:30 in May and October)
and Central NM Audubon Field Trips
|Sandia Crest House Sighting Logs (199 - 2008)||Table and Spreadsheet of all Banding Results||
CORRESPONDENCE: Narrative Banding
and Sighting Reports
ID Tips: the Four Rosy-Finch Races at Sandia Crest
|Check Weather, Webcams and Road Conditions||Rosy-finch and Nature Center Banding Schedule
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