“We barely stepped from the car when someone pointed out a Black Phoebe,” a newcomer to the Thursday Birders regaled. “This is wonderful,” he continued enthusiastically. Usually we see individual Black Phoebes. Today they were mostly in pairs and observed all along the ditch bank.
The morning smelled freshly washed from the prior day’s rain and the air was cool. The water in the acequia appeared glassy and images of bare branches next to the water’s edge reflected in the water.
Our last trip to the Corrales Bosque was in early February when the deciduous trees remained barren. Today the Rio Grande Cottonwoods, Russian Olives and other trees were fully leafed out.
A flock of birds flew overhead. “Cedar Waxwings!” someone exclaimed. Then a group landed in one of the cottonwoods. Their ‘lone-ranger’ masks gave them a comical appearance as their heads popped in and out among the leaves. Obviously migrating through, the bosque was full of waxwing groups.
A warbler worked the undergrowth next to the water, making it difficult to identify. The group was divided between thinking it was a female Wilson’s or an Orange-crowned Warbler.
All of our auditory senses were peaked. The song of the Spotted Towhee could be heard throughout the bosque, with occasional looks as one would fly between trees. Black-chinned Hummingbirds could be seen perching alone on the tips of bare branches, as though they were warming their wings. When they flew off, we heard their distinctive buzz.
As we left the ditch bank and headed into the bosque, a pair of cavity-nesting Wood Ducks flew up into a cottonwood. The call of a Cooper’s Hawk resounded loud and clear. Seemingly undeterred, we heard the throaty rattle of a Kingfisher.
“I hear a Black-headed Grosbeak,” a visitor from California commented. It was in a tree on a sandbar in the middle of the river and difficult to see. He cooperated by flying to a tree nearby. Everyone got good lucks of its bright orange body and black head.
We ended the day with a colorful addition to our day’s list. Back on the ditch bank, we spotted a male Lazuli Bunting fly between the trees. When it landed, some of us got good looks and admired its turquoise head and back against its cinnamon breast.