Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rosy-Finches at Sandia Crest, New Mexico

There are many benefits to living in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. One of the more delightful benefits for birders living here is being able in the winter months to see Rosy-Finches at Sandia Crest outside of Albuquerque. Sandia Crest at 10,600 feet is an easy 45 minute drive from the Albuquerque Metro area. It is one of the few places in the United States where it is possible to see all three species of Rosy-Finches. There is feeding station for Rosy-Finches at the Sandia Crest House at the top of the road up to Sandia Crest It is possible to park, walk into the Crest House, buy hot chocolate and wait inside in cozy warmth waiting for the birds to appear. And appear they do. At intervals throughout the day, a flock of more than 100 Rosy-Finches appear in the trees and at the feeders.
Rosy-Finches flock to the Pi├▒on trees around the deck at the Crest House
They "stage" their approach to the feeder on the deck by gathering in the bare aspen trees below the deck.

The flock stages in the bare trees below the feeder.
When the Rosy-Finches come to the feeder, the activity and the beauty of the birds is almost overwhelming.


The individual birds are lovely:

A Black Rosy-Finch flies to the feeder.



Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
Black Rosy-Finch
There is a banding program most Sundays when the Rosy-Finches are at Sandia Crest. The birds are trapped, banded, weighed, measured and released.
A volunteer examines a Hepburn's race (coastal) Grey-crowned Rosy Finch.
A close look at a beautiful wing.
Artist Catherine Hamilton prepares to release the banded and examined bird.
There are other birds to see at Sandia Crest as well:

White-breasted Nuthatch
Steller's Jay
Mountain Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Clark's Nutcracker
Abert's Squirrels lurk in the trees waiting to approach the feeder and share in the birdseed feast.

Abert's Squirrel in a tree near the deck.
The squirrels are very large and plump from a steady diet of bird seed.

An Abert's Squirrel forages on the deck below the feeder.
Sandia Crest is a wonderful place to see Rosy-Finches. It is a "must-do" birding area. You can find out more about the Rosy Finches on the Rosy-Finch Forum. If the flag in the upper right corner of the page is waving, the Rosy-Finches have arrived!

All photos ©Linda Rockwell. Contact corralena@gmail.com for permission.

25 comments:

  1. Linda, Sandia Crest looks like an amazing place and the Rosy Finches are beautiful! Love the tufted ears of the Abert's Squirrel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mia. You're just going to have to come to visit and see for yourself! :-)

      Delete
  2. They certainly are beautiful birds, especially in flight.
    Your photos are incredible Linda.
    Thanks for sharing these amazing beauties.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your very kind comments Pam. I love the Rosy-Finches, and I'm always happy to share my photos of them.

      Delete
  3. I spy some of my favorite Rocky Mountain type birds and critters and those Rosy Finches...what a delight to behold, oh soooo beautiful. I have never seen one, yet maybe this coming September~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rosies don't usually appear until November; however, there's almost always some decent birding here. Let me know if you decide to visit NM!

      Delete
  4. Fantastic pics, love the Steller's Jay, can't really pick a favourite though :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Alan. Happy that you like the photos! I'm rather partial to Steller's Jays. :-)

      Delete
  5. So many kind of birds. Great pictures./Brita

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Brita. I'm happy you enjoyed the photos!

      Delete
  6. Absolutely love the Jay in this series, and the Finches are delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Richard. I love the Steller's Jays too, but the Rosy-Finches are special to me. :-)

      Delete
  7. What a wonderful post Linda. Your photos are fantastic, even if you are killing me with envy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Pat. I keep telling you that you're going to have to come to NM! And speaking of envy, your owl photos reduce me to TEARS of envy!

      Delete
  8. Wow, this is great, I had no idea about this and I live in Rio Rancho. Will they be there all winter?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Steve. Yes, they usually leave sometime in March. Now would be a good time to go. Take your camera!!

      Delete
  9. Beautiful images, Linda! You worsen my homesickness for the Land of Enchantment. Ken

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy you like the images Ken. I hoped that you would see this post!

      Delete
  10. Wow~Love those Rosey Finchs..Such Lovely Pink!
    I will get there to visit you and the birds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely Dawn, you must come to New Mexico to see me and the rosies!

      Delete
  11. Linda, fabulous action images and close-ups of the Rosy Finches! They really are lovely birds. What a joy it must be to see all of them feeding at once. The Steller's Jay capture is indeed stellar. Sandia Crest looks like a wonderful place to visit. Superb post!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fantastic post Linda, love the close look of these gorgeous birds.

    ReplyDelete
  13. We hope to come visit in December! What is the best time of day to come look at the finches? =)

    ReplyDelete