Rio Grande Nature Center, Albuquerque 8/30/10

One of my favorite birding spots in the city itself is the Rio Grande Nature Center. This state park preserves part of the bosque habitat along the Rio Grande. Bosque is the riparian woodlands that grow, or used to grow in some areas, in the American Southwest.

Entering the bosque. The metal structures are called jetty jacks and help control erosion by trapping sediment.

They have some artificial wetlands which attract birds like Wood Ducks, Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons (Bernalillo County bird #128) and Pied-billed Grebes. The many humming bird feeders attract large numbers of the breeding Black-chinned Hummingbird and, in the fall,  migrating Rufous, Broad-tailed, and the occasional Calliope Hummingbirds. When I moved to Albquerque, I was excited to see a Calliope Hummingbird, as it is the only common U.S. hummingbird I have never seen. It will have to wait until next year, though. These birds are sporadic visitors to hummingbird feeders here, not like Rufous Hummingbirds which will pick a feeder and then defend it mercilessly.

The main pond at the nature center. You can view the pond from inside in comfortable chairs.

Black-crowned night heron; probabaly this same bird was actually swimming a few weeks ago

I really like the striped head of young Pied-billed Grebes

The tough little Rufous

I took a walk in the late morning through the bosque trails along the river. Since it was already hot, I didn’t see too much. However, some Snowy Egrets on the Rio Grande were nice to see. Summer Tanagers were silent today, but I did see four: one male and three females or immatures. Otherwise, not much else around.

Snowy Egret

The Rio Grande with expensive housing on the other shore

Back end of a male Summer Tanager

I stopped by the Candelaria Wetlands near the parking lot on my way out and was surprised to see a flock of 16 Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Bernalillo County bird #129) in abush on the opposite side. These birds seemed to be all female or immatures.

A flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds

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