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Notes from the Field
Northern New Mexico and Jemez Mountains, August 29-September 1, 2014. We had a group of 16 birders for the trip. Friday we birded the Los Alamos area, where we had a flock of Band-tailed Pigeons and a colony of Acorn Woodpeckers. We went to Deer Trip Mesa, which was a beautiful view of the canyons of Los Alamos. We finished the day up on Pajaritos Ski Area looking for the Three-toed Woodpecker. There were lots of signs of them, but no sightings. Saturday morning we left early for Espanola and the San Juan Bridge, where we had Cedar Waxwings, Yelllow-breasted Chat, Nashville Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, a Black-capped Chickadee and Belted Kingfisher. We then traveled to the Santa Fe Ski Area, where we had a flock of Pinyon Jays right in the City of Santa Fe. We ate lunch at the Ski Area where a few in our group rode on the gondola to the top and saw a Black-billed Magpie. We did a small hike down the creek, where we got a Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker and a Red-naped Sapsucker. We returned to Los Alamos through Tesuque, which is a very pretty drive. Saturday night we had a group dinner which was fun, with everyone talking about the day's activities. Sunday morning we went to Bandelier National Monument, where there are cliff dwellings and kivas and ancient native american drawings. Here we saw Olive-sided Flycatchers, Canyon Wren, Canyon Towhee, Western Tanager, Rock Wren and Western Bluebirds. We had a picnic lunch near Jemez Springs and then headed into the Jemez Mountains where we walked in a meadow and we saw a Northern Goshawk, Townsend's Solitaire and White-breasted Nuthatch, and Northern Flickers. We returned to Los Alamos and regrouped to go to the Valle Caldera for Elk watching. We had good looks at lots of Elk, we heard them Bugle and we were able to watch two bulls fighting over some cows. Monday morning we checked out of our hotels and drove to Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe. They had their feeders up and we all took turns sitting and watching birds at feeders. We had a lot of Hummingbirds (Rufus, Black-chinned, and Broad-tailed). Several in the group went on a hike to the beaver ponds where Evening Grosbeak, Black-headed Grosbeak, Clark's Nutcracker, Lesser Goldfinch, Pine Siskins and Western Scrub Jays were seen. A birder, from Los Alamos, Joe Fitzgibbon, joined us for our trips and we appreciate his knowledge of the area and the birds; it was very helpful. The weather for the trip was great and it was a fun trip. We had 75 birds.
Belted Fingfisher (by D. Peveto)