It’s a New Mexico birding tradition: head up to the Sandia Crest House sometime during the winter to see the Rosy-Finches.
Black Rosy-Finch. Usually my favorite, I grew to appreciate the subtle beauty of Brown-cappeds. Some of the males were particularly pink this year.
The weather this winter has been unseasonably warm; possibly as a result, the rosy-finch flock is smaller than in past years. I don’t know much about the migration patterns of the finches, but colder and snowier weather to our north seems to push more birds south. Brown-capped Rosy-Finches are the most abundant this year and Gray-crowned are almost absent. I didn’t see any of the latter this past weekend. Any birder hoping to see all three for the first time would have to look very hard this winter.
The usual cohort of birds milled about the Crest House feeders: Steller’s Jays, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, and Gray-headed Dark-eyed Juncos.
Here are some photos, taken on my new smartphone!
Clouds covered the Crest overnight and left a beautiful coating of ice over everything.
A cake for one of the bander’s birthdays. The decorators did a good job: no cake wreck here!