photo taken March 2012
We visit the area around Alameda frequently. There is a large free parking area just southeast of the bridge. This area is the northern end of the miles-long Paseo del Bosque bike trail through the bosque. Within an easy walk are the old bridge, now closed to cars but used by walkers, cyclists, and equestrians, as well as unpaved trails radiating east, south, and north along both sides of the river. In fact, there are multiple levels of trails along the acequias and closer to the riverbank. What a fabulous area to hike, especially early in the day. (The shade is great but may not be cool enough by late afternoon, even in late spring.)
Birds are an an added bonus to the other natural beauty of the area, which includes wonderful views of the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande river,
Lillian Stokes is a great bird photographer.
I’m on the NH Audubon birdathon fundraiser today, doing a big sit category in our yard and just got this photo of a young Northern Saw-whet Owl in our owl nesting box, too cool!!!
Ok, back to the birdathon.
Joe Schelling posts some great photos of birds and butterflies, primarily in the Albuquerque area. Joe gets around and also identifies his subjects thoroughly.
"Birding, butterflies, other nature photography, and travel to other parts of the world in pursuit of same are high on my list of favorite things to do."
I wish I still felt this way. Unfortunately, the people who hate wolves hate the government. While we politely rally for the wolves, the haters have them in their gunsights — quite literally. Sometimes rebels are merely criminals and thugs who bathe themselves in blood.
Fourteen years after those initial reintroductions, the wolves continue to struggle, however. It is not because they are not doing their part. They are forming packs – family units – breeding, raising young and killing elk and deer. They are fulfilling their role in the ecosystem. We need to fulfill our role as stewards, as people with a responsibility to these animals, their ecosystem, and to future generations of Americans. We must ensure that these animals have a chance and that our children can hear their howls decades from now. There is strong support from the public for that. Now we need our government at all levels to get that message.
I no longer support efforts to restore the lobo to its rightful habitat in the wildlands of New Mexico. Yes, the blood-thirsty, cold-hearted sons-of-bitches can have their way, just like well-armed babies. Yes, the late-comers who claim they own all public lands can deny the majority its will. Yes, a small number of cowardly dimwits can determine the fate of the ecosystem.
Now and then, ugly, stupid, mean, and wrong triumph. I’m tired of the slaughter of decent animals by indecent ones.
I took a day trip to various birding hotspots south of Albuquerque, but not as far south as Mecca (Bosque del Apache). My guide was Birding Hot Spots of Central New Mexico, by Judy Liddell and Barbara Hussey, plus GPS and some time spent with Google Earth beforehand. One trip is not enough to evaluate these spots – their inclusion in the book may be enough of a rating. Certainly, I will return to Bernardo, which is so much closer than Mecca but *almost* as beautiful and bird-full (no place is as beautiful as Bosque del Apache). I wish Bosque del Apache would mimic the blinds and overlooks at Bernardo, which has two fantastic trails through high bushes around a pond.
Highlights included quite a few kestrels, a northern harrier at Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area, lots of sandhill cranes and snow geese, a song sparrow, and several rufous-sided towhees, all at Bernardo.
|Los Lunas – Belen – Bernardo, New Mexico|
Note: Photos contain GPS data and can be mapped online.
I had not luck locating Belen Waterfowl Management Area off Jarales Road (a lovely drive). The official map of the area is dreadfully vague. Nor did I see any indication along the road of Casa Colorada WMA.
See Judy Liddell’s blog for much more information: It’s a bird thing…
We’ve walked in various parts of the bosque (riparian woods, primarily cottonwoods) within Albuquerque over the years. A year ago, our walk resulted in one of my favorite photos of the year (coyote with ducks, a prize winner). This year, we watched a Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk) stand in the river, one foot pinning its prey in the current. And there was a disheveled merlin, a handsome shoveler, a snipe, and a plethora of robins. I’ve added 9 pictures to the album (19 total).
|A Walk in Albuquerque’s Bosque|
Consistently, Lillian Stokes takes the finest bird photos I’ve seen. She always captures fascinating action in her subjects.
I recently bought The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. It’s huge and full of photos. I have just the slightest disappointment that the photos in the guide are not quite as beautiful as the photos on the blog.
Why National Bird Day?
- The beauty, songs, and flight of birds have long been sources of human inspiration.
- Today, nearly 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species.
- Birds are sentinel species whose plight serves as barometer of ecosystem health and alert system for detecting global environmental ills.
- Many of the world’s parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss.
- Public awareness and education about the physical and behavioral needs of birds can go far in improving the welfare of the millions of birds kept in captivity.
- The survival and well-being of the world’s birds depends upon public education and support for conservation.
One of the big highlights visiting the Hula Valley in Israel was all the kingfisher action. This is a pied kingfisher, about the size and shape of belted kingfishers but are all crazy black and white. [Copyright © Birdchick.]
Follow the link to see more great photos of different kingfishers.
Lillian Stokes’ bird photos may be the best I’ve seen. I haven’t yet bought The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, but I will just for the pictures. The blog entry I linked to below has more photos plus tips on photographing birds in flight.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Pileated Woodpecker © by Lillian Stokes.
ScienceDaily (Aug. 30, 2011) — As wolf populations grow in parts of the West, most of the focus has been on their value in aiding broader ecosystem recovery — but a new study from Oregon State University also points out that they could play an important role in helping to save other threatened species.
In research published in Wildlife Society Bulletin, scientists suggest that a key factor in the Canada lynx being listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act is the major decline of snowshoe hares. The loss of hares, the primary food of the lynx, in turn may be caused by coyote populations that have surged in the absence of wolves. Scientists call this a "trophic cascade" of impacts.
The increase in these secondary "mesopredators" has caused significant ecosystem disruption and, in this case, possibly contributed to the decline of a threatened species, the scientists say.
"The increase in mesopredators such as coyotes is a serious issue; their populations are now much higher than they used to be when wolves were common in most areas of the United States," said William Ripple, a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at OSU.