For the last ten days we have been zig-zagging south in Western New Mexico. Beautiful red rock formations surrounding us through the Navajo Nation. Wild flowers blanketed the roadsides like this Indian Blanket with a green bee on it.
The Pinyon Jay was one of our target birds and their locations are very unpredictable. We went through the small village of Bluewater and heard a ruckus of many jays calling. We followed a flock of maybe 20 birds and of course that led us to a feeder. Fun to find this hard to find bird.
We drove through the El Malpais National Monument with square miles of ancient lava flows, amazing sandstone rock formations and this natural arch.
|Cholla in bloom|
We stayed at a Gila Forest Campground near Quamado Lake. The host's feeder was swarming with birds: Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Rufous, and something different; a Calliope Hummingbird (on the right, notice the streaked feathers and how small he is).
|Stink Beetle doing a defensive headstand|
We spent several hours on the auto tour of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Being summer, much of the water was drained, but a few ponds did have Western Grebe, Cinnamon Teal and Mexican Ducks. It was great seeing so many Yellow-breasted Chats, Blue Grosbeaks, and Vermillion Flycatchers. This male is really trying to impress the female.
We drove south to Elephant Butte Lake State Park and found a whole new desert habitat. Gambel's Quail were everywhere including three families of just hatched chicks.
This is the first area we encountered White-winged Doves, Pyrrhuloxia, Cactus Wren, Greater Roadrunners, Verdin's, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and Crissal Thrashers.
On the lake were Clark's Grebes and a Long-billed Curlew.
|Bullock's Oriole family|
Many desert cottontails were around and this very large Black-tailed Jackrabbit.
|Desert Willow Blossom|
|Sunrise at Elephant Butte Lake|
We then drove west toward Silver City stopping at Iron Creek National Forest Campground. After waiting out a downpour, the birds began to sing. We found Painted Redstarts and the sought after Red-faced Warbler. We also found this Golden-banded Skipper that is only found in this small area of SW New Mexico and SE Arizona.
After a day of catching up on laundry, charging up batteries and cleaning at the Silver City RV Park, we drove north along the scenic byway to Gila Hot Springs. On the way we added Acorn Woodpeckers and Hutton's Vireos.
While exploring the campground, Ty found this beautiful Anchor Bug.
Early next morning we drove to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. As we started up the trail, I took a break on one of the benches. I heard a splash in the creek and then growling. I decided fast I needed to move away quickly. Ty saw something move up a tree. It turned out to be a Bobcat kitten, mom and another kitten moved away up the creek. This baby started crying and didn't know what to do. We moved away hoping mom would come quickly back to get him down.
These ancient ruins were some of the best cliff dwellings we have seen. very well preserved. There were several petroglyphs on the walls depicting animals and people.
|Red-tailed Hawk makes a landing|
As we traveled south along the Mimbres River Valley we encountered a pair of Common Black-Hawks.
We are staying at the Little Vineyard RV Park in Deming tonight before heading to Southeast Arizona tomorrow.
On the road again,
Love & Prayers,
Ida & Ty Baumann