Ferruginous Fest in Torrance County

Ferruginous Hawk - Photo by Bonnie Long

The first Ferruginous Hawk sighting occurred as the caravan of Central New Mexico Audubon Thursday Birders turned off on a side road from NM-41 south of Moriarty. There also were two American Kestrels that seemed to be frolicking in someone’s yard.

Our next road to Explore was Clements in McIntosh. Almost right away we spotted another Ferruginous Hawk, the first of five along that road.

“We saw Scaled Quail fly across the road,” trip leader, Bonnie, announced through the two-way radio. She pulled over and she and Jeane got out and headed into the drive of a farm. Before the owner shooed them off, they spotted a Snow Goose in the farmer’s pond.

Further along, we turned into a side road to check out another Ferruginous Hawk. A flock of meadowlarks flew across the road.

“Loggerhead Shrike,” I announced and pointed to a power line. Several others were able to get a look at it before it sailed off.

As we passed another residence, we noticed a Greater Roadrunner in the scrub.

“There’s another one skulking behind him,” someone stated. The roadrunner’s belly was almost to the ground as in inched forward in a crouch. We couldn’t see what it was after.

“Bald Eagle,” Gary called through his radio. He was the last car in the caravan and had stopped to get out his scope.

The eagle circled over Gary’s car and then headed west, giving everyone a chance to admire it.

Also spotted along the road were a Northern Harrier and a Red-tailed Hawk.

After lunch at the Old Mill in Estancia, we headed south again on NM-41 in hopes of seeing the Golden Eagle Bonnie had found the prior day when she was scouting. There was no eagle, but we did spot another Ferruginous Hawk and a field full of Horned Larks.

We back-tracked and began zigzagging along the county roads on our way back to NM-55. We stopped to check out another Ferruginous Hawk, as well as a Red-tailed Hawk.

“They are so graceful when they fly,” Roger commented as we watched the wing-beats of the Ferruginous Hawk.

Ferruginous Hawk

We hit a bonanza as we headed north. There were more than 10 Ferruginous Hawks at various spots along the road. One was sitting far out in a field on top of an irrigation sprinkler. Two were on power poles along a driveway. One was perched in a tree next the road, finally enabling me to get a good photo. We watched another one sitting on the top of a pole as it was getting ready to take off. It raised its wings, leaned forward, and then glided off.

“This has been a Ferruginous fest,” Donna summed up the day.

One thought on “Ferruginous Fest in Torrance County

  1. Hi Judy,

    Yes, it was a great day for Ferruginous Hawks! I talked with Rebecca afterwards and we came up with at least 23 Ferrugs. In addition we counted 4 Kestrels, 4 Loggerhead Shrikes, 1 Northern Harrier, 3 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Bald Eagle, many Ravens and a few Am Crows, several Western Meadowlarks, several flocks of Horned Larks, at least 3 flocks of Sandhill Cranes, 1 Snow Goose, 2 Roadrunners, many Starlings, 1 Rock Dove, several House Sparrows and House Finches, 2 Morning Doves and about 12 Scaled Quail.

    In addition, Cindy and Mary Lou had 1 Prairie Falcon, 3 Merlins, and saw several Western Bluebirds and a couple Mountain Bluebirds when they came out on Hwy 55 near Manzano. All in all, 23 species. No Golden Eagle though. Otherwise, not bad at all.

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