Intrepid Birders at Coronado State Park

The cold grabbed us as we eased ourselves out of our warm cars at Coronado State Park. Eight intrepid birders braced the mid-20’s temperature – which was probably colder with the wind chill – the Central New Mexico Audubon Thursday Birder’s trip.

“There’s a Canyon Towhee posted on the top of the fence post next to the entrance,” someone pointed with their thickly-gloved hand. The towhee flew off, and then two more paused there and then joined the leader.

Candada Geese on Rio Grande River

As we headed along the trail on the bluff over-looking the river, waves of Canada Geese flew in and landed on the water – flocks of nine, then 37 and finally 75. They seemed unperturbed by the cold water as they clustered in groups.

American Robins glided in and perched in the bare branches on a cottonwood – fourteen of them. They hop-scotched up river from tree to tree.

An American Wigeon arrived on the river and appeared to be floating backwards in the current. “Oh, and there’s a Ring-necked Duck,” trip leader Rebecca signaled. “I will get it in the scope.”

“And, I saw a Mallard,” reported Robert, who had drive through the snow from Cedar Crest to join us.

From time to time pairs of American Crows flapped across our path.

A small group of Dark-eyed Juncos, most appearing to be females of the Oregon race, flitted in the branches of a tree below the bluff.

Bald Eagle

After about an hour we turned back towards the Visitor Center. As we scanned the river one last time, we spotted our ‘bird of the day’ – a Bald Eagle sitting majestically in the top of some cottonwood branches across from the bend in the river.

As we approached the Visitor Center, we spotted two White-crowned Sparrows. There were more in the piñon pines near the center’s feeder. Lesser Goldfinches called as they indulged on the thistle sock.

“I’m not going to stand out in the cold and go over the list,” Rebecca stated as she scurried towards her car. “We saw 11 species.”

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