Palomar Observatory

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Birding at Randall Davey

Scrub jay
Although I have taken pictures of birds for years, especially raptors, I am the first to admit that I have only the most rudimentary knowledge of bird species and am in no way fit to bear the sobriquet of "birder." Having said that straight off, I also must say that I enjoy learning and hiking and breathing fresh air and chasing the little flying creatures around gives me a chance to do all those things.

Today my friend Steve Saylor and I met at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in order to do a little hiking and birding. Steve and I went to Bosque de Apache last year chasing the elusive wood rail. Steve is a long time birder, originally from Ohio. The Center is in Santa Fe, located at the end of Upper Canyon Rd. It is a beautiful expanse comprising over 135 acres and bordered by thousands of acres of open space.

We started off with a hike up Bear Canyon, pausing to see the warning signs about a mother and cub in the area that could be problematic. We gingerly walked up the trail and I could feel the effects of the elevation on my lungs. The smell of juniper and piƱon added to our pleasure at being in the great outdoors, away from people. Luckily we didn't run into the bears. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning.

We returned to the nature center, once the home of the late Santa Fe artist Randall Davey. They had put out feeders in the beautiful gardens and I went to the van and retrieved my new Induro 314 tripod and Wimberley gimbal head for their near maiden voyage.

We saw all manner of birds and I stayed several hours. My gear worked perfectly. All of these shots were taken with my Nikon D7000 and Sigma 50-500mm lens. Birder friend Beth asked me to try to identify what I saw and I will give it my best shot. You can correct me if I am wrong.

I couldn't snap a few, the unspecified warbler, the stellar jay, kingbird and the towhee among others. Even saw a couple lbb's. I would like to go back if I have time and try again as it is a beautiful place that I am ashamed to say I have never visited before.

We saw several Grosbeaks, one with a broken lower beak. Lovely birds.

Here's a black capped variety.

The downy and hairy woodpecker are very close and not easy to identify, at least for a neophyte like me. I believe that this is a juvenile downy with his red cap just starting to come in.

Lots of lovely hummingbirds, mainly Rufous and Broad tailed.

Here is a picture of a broad tailed female in a tree. Note the spots under the chin.

The little red house finches were quite lovely and playful.

Lesser Goldfinch, male

Pine Siskin

Mountain chickadee

Here are two doves, what I believe are a Mourning and an Inca, which may be a vagrant or may be misidentified.   more birds, a mourning dove and flicker.

I have many more shots but think that I am probably starting to lose you. I need to identify a little yellow finch. If I make it out again I will probably have a whole bunch of new birds to add as well. Hope that you enjoy the pictures.

mystery bird


Max Hall said...

Beautiful Robert. Thanks for sharing. Great food in Santa Fe. Haven't been there in awhile. There's a wonderful spa near by, Ten Thousand Waves.

Sanoguy said...

Great shots! Looks and sounds like a great day!

Anonymous said...

I don't know birds (though I do appreciate them) but I do know great photography. Your shots are in the superlative category.
carol z.

Blue Heron said...

Max, I have been coming here annually for over twenty years, months at a time. Know the place like the back of my hand. Thanks for the compliments.

Anonymous said...

your fotos are stunning! Great shots, so clear and almost intrusive!