Common Goldeneye – Corrales Bosque

“Hopefully this will be a wren day,” trip leader Lannois told the assembled 22 Central New Mexico Audubon Thursday Birders before heading into the Corrales bosque at the end of East Ella. “We are hoping to find Winter and House Wrens.”

As we headed north along the trail, an accipiter circled above us. “Look at its wing beats,” John said, “flap, flap, glide.”

“It’s a Sharp-shinned,” announced Lannois. “Notice its squared tail.”

We crossed over the irrigation ditch and headed down and across the drainage channel, and then headed south to provide us the best view of the trees and bushes along the edge of the water.

Spotted Towhees and Dark-eyed Juncos were singing. There also were Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees calling and flitting all along the channel.

Further along we encountered Song Sparrows working the edges of the channel and Hermit Thrushes skulking amongst the over-growth. An American Goldfinch flitted in the brush and a single female Red-winged Blackbird hovered nearby.

Northern Flickers were calling and we spotted both a male and female Downy Woodpecker.

A few Mallards swam along lazily and a Northern Harrier coursed by overhead.

Cooper's Hawk

We spotted another accipiter perched in the top of a bare cottonwood. “We can see everything but its tail,” commented Ben as he adjusted his scope.

“It’s like it is purposely hiding its tail behind the limb,” laughed Rick.

After considerable discussion and checking the size and shape of the head and eye placement, the consensus of the group was that it was a Cooper’s Hawk.

Just beyond, we paused to admire a porcupine snuggled amongst some small twigs. It appeared to be watching us as we gazed up at it.

“That looks like a beaver hole in the side of the channel,” someone pointed. We hadn’t noticed any evidence of gnawed branches; however, we had only gone a short distance beyond the den hole when we spotted a freshly hewn stump.

A small flock of Sandhill Cranes clucked as they flew across the bosque.

There were more waterfowl ahead and we were delighted to notice several American Wigeons and a Blue-winged Teal, along with more Mallards.

Common Goldeneye

“There’s something different further down the channel,” John stated. “Can I check it out through someone’s scope?” After peering at it, he stepped back and proclaimed, “It’s a Common Goldeneye!”

While it was not a life bird for me, I was excited to find it. Jeane and I had gone to the Alameda Open Space prior to meeting the rest of the birders and were disappointed not to find the one that had been reported there.

It and the other waterfowl seemed to be floating south on the current. I crept slowly to try and take a photo without flushing it. I had to take it from some distance, so it wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked, but was able to capture one that showed the white ‘dimple’ patch.

As we headed back to the cars, we were all in agreement that even though we had not seen any wrens, the Common Goldeneye was definitely the Bird of the Day.

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