New Mexico:   There's No Place Like Home    p 1 of 2


2 Oct 2014

Here's an idea.  Instead of boarding a plane or driving for hours, let's do a bird photo shoot by traveling about 15 feet.  From the dining room out to the back deck of our New Mexico cabin.

Which we did.  Joining me was Chad Smith, fellow Tennessean and fellow bird photographer.  He actually did have to fly out here from Nashville.

I promised him Pygmy Nuthatches, who are all over the place this year.  So tame are they that when I go to put more seed on the bird tray, I have to say, "Excuse me," to one or two little sprites who are reluctant even then to leave the tray.



Pygmy-Nuthatch.jpg (220700 bytes)


Steller's-Jay.jpg (220227 bytes)







The Steller's Jays know the drill here.  None can be seen when I get up at dawn.  But within minutes of putting out bird seed, as many as half a dozen swarm down for their breakfast. 

We've had  up to 20 Evening Grosbeaks since August.  Males like the one shown here have at last finished molting.   Grosbeaks are always together in flocks but cannot seem to get along.  They constantly bicker and squabble with each other at the bird tray.  E-Grosbeak-M.jpg (336478 bytes)

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Female Evening Grosbeaks like this one are every bit as quarrelsome as the males. 


The resident Dark-eyed Junco here in the Southern Rockies is the Gray-headed race.  But as fall arrives, so do juncos that seem to be partly the Pink-sided race.  It posed smartly  in Gambel's Oak. 

`Dark-eyed Junco

American Robin


Chad shows little interest in my American Robins, as he can photograph them in Tennessee or for that matter just about anywere in the United States.  But as a photographer, I appreciate big, slow birds like this that always seem ready to have their photo taken. 

Lewis's Woodpecker 3 Oct 2014

Now for the bird Chad most wants to photograph:  Lewis's Woodpecker.  Of limited range, they are common here in the Chama valley.  We finally realize that those along the highway south of Chama are collecting acorns from oaks on one side of the highway and flying across to the cottonwoods on the other side.  There they stuff the acorns into crevices in the rough cottonwood bark to serve as  winter provisions.  In this behavior Lewis's is like its close relative the Acorn Woodpecker..  



Feeling mighty adventurous, we drive a few miles down the road to semi-open country.  Here live  both Mountain Bluebirds and especailly Western Bluebirds.  Even though it's autumn, the Western Bluebirds cannot resist swooping in to check things out when Chad plays their calls with his mp3 player and UE speaker. 

W-Bluebird.jpg (261113 bytes)

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