Gila Mountains Travel DiaryGila Mountains (80335 bytes)

9 August 2005
Charlotte and I are spending a week at Grey Feathers Lodge, nestled in the Gila Mountains of southwestern New Mexico.  We've come for hummingbirds.  A look at a map shows why they're here.  The Gilas are a natural migration corridor for thousands of hummingbirds traveling south from their nesting areas in the mountains of western North America to central and southern Mexico, where they spend the winter.  In mid-August, hummingbird feeders here are swarming with migrating Broad-tailed, Rufous, and Calliope Hummingbirds, along with summer resident Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  Another summer resident, Magnificent Hummingbird, occasionally shows up, as well as the rare Blue-throated Hummingbird.




Calliope Hummingbird (75138 bytes)

10 August 2005
Of all places I've visited in the Americas, Grey Feathers ranks as one of the best for the hummingbird photographer.  The covered porch of the guesthouse has 2 feeders, and is perfect for  photographing these guys.  One of the first on which I train the camera is Calliope Hummingbird, which nests near streams in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.  The male Calliope is the smallest North American bird.  At 3 ", he stretches to reach the sugar water from his perch on the feeder.







11 August 2005Broad-tailed Hummingbird (67302 bytes)
The most common hummer in the Rocky Mountains is Broad-tailed Hummingbird.   The male advertises his presence by a whistling sound as air passes through his wing primaries.  Tame and photogenic, he's one of my favorite birds.
   When we tire of watching the hummer wars, other birds await.  The lodge seed feeders host a wide assortment of southwestern foothills birds:  Lesser Goldfinch, Black-headed Grosbeak, House Finch, Acorn Woodpecker, White-winged Dove, and Western Scrub Jay.  Along Sapillo Creek are Gambel's Quail, Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker, Lark Sparrow, and Western Bluebird.  Unusual sightings include Lark Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and the beautiful Lazuli Bunting.

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