Rosyfinch Ramblings
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July 2022
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Long Key Natural Area
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US, Sandia Crest
Posted by: Ken @ 3:34 pm

Waving Flag-- Rosies have returnedUpdate on the Rosy-Finches of Sandia Crest, New Mexico.  The flag is waving– flocks of  Rosy-Finches are still visiting the feeders at Sandia Crest House. Feeders to remain up until the end of March if bears don’t start appearing. Banding operations have been discontinued.

Letters from Sandia Crest

Fran Lusso & Dave Weaver, who coordinate the rosy-finch feeding project at Sandia Crest House, sent this note today:

Hi Ken,

Just back from the Crest - road is clear but there is still snow on the ground in the forest and up at the Crest.  Birders up there when we arrived said they had seen a flock of about 50.  We urged them to make a log entry before they headed down - I think they will.   There are still sightings of a large flock (~150) so the birds are still around. Weather is warming significantly out here - 70’s in town today and expected throughout the week.  Hope all is well there!
Fran & Dave

This report from this past weekend was posted on the Arizona New Mexico bird chat, from Devin Eby-Bosler of LSU-Baton Rouge:

For those interested, all three rosy-finches continue to frequent the feeders at the Crest House on Sandia Crest (Bernalillo Co.).  As of Sunday (23 Mar), a fairly large mixed-species flock of ~120 rosy-finches made a few visits to the feeding station throughout the morning.  The flock was comprised of ~60 Brown-cappeds, ~45 Gray-crowneds (including at least 6 Hepburn’s), and ~15 Blacks.  The adult males are especially striking at this time having acquired their brilliant breeding plumage. The rosy-finch banding crew, headed by Steve and Nancy Cox, was there wrapping up the fifth winter season of banding.  The team was busily trapping, banding, and processing rosy-finches throughout the morning.  It’s fascinating to see these vividly-patterned fringillids up-close in the hand.  Congratulations on yet another successful year of rosy-finch banding at the crest!  Although the rosy-finch numbers are starting to thin out now, it’s not too late to stop by and enjoy the show.  In past years, they have been reported through the first week or so of April.

Long Key Natural Area

We made our first visit to the newly opened Long Key Natural Area. It is a beautifully restored hammock-like old sand bar that used to rise above the Everglades, located just west of Flamingo Gardens, north of Griffin Road on Flamingo, in Davie, FL. There are now handicap-accessible trails, a beautifully restored pond, and extensive equestrian trails (still under construction). We formerly visited this area when it was an “ESL,” which I think means a designated environmentally sensitive land area. It has been closed for about two years to permit construction of a nature center with large meeting area and interpretive exhibits, as well as an old restored farmhouse. We were hoping to see the Great Horned Owls that we saw there regularly and have been reported by several visitors in the past few days, but we dipped on that one.

There is an active rookery with the nests of Great and Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, and Tricolored Herons. We suspect that other herons such as Little Blue may nest there. A Wood Stork and White Ibises were also present.

The Great Egrets were decked out in nuptial plumes.

This closeup of the Great Egret’s head shows the green breeding coloration of the bare parts..

Tricolored Heron was gathering twigs as its mate waited on the platform of a nest under construction.

This Great Egret was sitting close on the nest, probably still incubating.

This Great Egret was tending to two very young hatchlings.

The magnificent Live Oaks were festooned with Ressurection Ferns and Bromeliads. This appears to be a Cardinal Airplant.

Apple Snail egg cluster in the pond next to the Interpretive Center.

On the way home we made a brief stop at the SW Regional Library wetlands in Pembroke Pines. We saw this Male Boat-tailed Grackle calling and displaying.

The object of his affection was a Female Boat-tail.

April 11-13, 7th ANNUAL PRAIRIE CHICKEN FESTIVAL in Milnesand, NM.

Information available at 

The contact
person is Tish McDaniel (505-762-6997), 

The number of participants is limited to 100 people.

May through October,

in the Sandia
Mountains, sponsored by the
U.S. Forest Service and Central New Mexico

Birders meet at 8:00 a.m. (8:30 in May and October)

at the
Sandia Ranger Station, 1176 Highway 337, in Tijeras.

Thursday Birder
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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