Late Winter at Albuquerque’s Los Poblanos Open Space

“There’s a large white bird flying on the horizon,” Bev exclaimed. “Perhaps it is an egret.”

We focused our binoculars on the flapping white birds. “I don’t think it is an egret,” someone said. “It must be a gull.”

Then it turned and flew closer — and it was clear to all of us that what we had been following along the far horizon was a leucistic pigeon, and we felt cheated.

Nineteen Thursday Birds were gathered in the parking lot at the Los Poblanos Open Space. As we started out, there were more interesting birds flying. A Ring-necked Pheasant glided low over the harvested fields. A swirling flock of European Starlings landed in a bare cottonwood tree, followed by several meadow larks – each on their own side of the tree.

Say's Phoebe

Say's Phoebe

We headed west on the perimeter trail. An Eastern Blue bird was spotted just before the trail turned north. A Say’s Phoebe perched on a metal ladder on the back of the Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church.

A Cooper’s Hawk soared over the nearby houses, and a Northern Flicker flew between two trees in the same area.

A plaintiff call from the fields signaled a Kildeer. Another Say’s Phoebe was perched on the end of a stick a little further on.

Two Greater Roadrunners stalked across a furrow in the field, sometimes disappearing from sight. When they stopped, they blended in with the grasses so thoroughly that they were hard to spot.

“They need to move so I can see them,” Joanne said.

The melodic song of a meadowlark floated across the fields as it sat perched on the top branch of a tree. The meadowlarks spring song always takes me back to my youth in the southern California foothills.

A raptor soared over the fields. “I can see its white rum band,” Donna commented. “It’s a Northern Harrier.”

American Kestrel

American Kestrel

An American Kestrel flew into a bare tree, and then sat perusing the fields, turning its head first one way and then the other.

A few Canada Geese foraged in the fields.

As we approached the community garden, a couple of White-crowned Sparrows flew in and out of the underbrush. Both a White-winged Dove and a Mourning Dove seemed to blend in with the branches as they perched in nearby trees.

A class from the nearby elementary school must maintain one of the plots in the community garden. They had erected a platform feeder where Dark-eyed Juncos partook of the feast. Signs labeled rows, e.g. “Maximillian’s Sunflowers.” And another hand printed sign announced, in large letters and an arrow pointing down, “Ants Home.”

As we headed back south, a flock of about 75 Sandhill Cranes headed north.

Ron spotted a Red-tailed Hawk.

As were reviewing the species we had seen – 23 – two coyotes loped across the field.


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