Saturday, August 18, 2012

Birding at Capulin Springs in the Sandia Mountains

As any birder in the US knows, the summer months are the doldrums of birding. In New Mexico we have hummingbirds and some year-round residents, but many birds are farther north during the summer breeding season. Capulin Springs in the Sandia Mountains is a place that is almost always a good place to see a variety of birds in the summer. The reason is water. At Capulin Springs the spring water has been directed through a hollowed-out log to create a lovely oasis for bird drinking and bathing.

The setting is really lovely.
The Magic Birding Log at Capulin Springs
Birders in the Albuquerque area have been excited to see the unusual numbers of Red Crossbills in the Sandias this summer. They flocked to the water in the hollowed-out log.
Red Crossbills bathing and drinking in the hollow log.
The Crossbills were in many different plumage phases. This male was really pretty.
Male Red Crossbill
Several people reported that they had seen White-winged Crossbills among the Red Crossbills. I believe that this is a female White-winged Crossbill. Note the white wing bar.
Note the white wing bar.
 The crossbills enjoyed bathing in the spring.
Red Crossbill enjoys a nice bath, ignoring a pair of Cassin's Finches photobombing my shot.
 A male Cassin's finch landed on one edge of the log ...
Cassin's Finch
... and watched as the female bathed in the spring.
Cassin's Finches
Yellow-rumped Warblers came by for a drink and a bath.
Yellow-rumped Warbler gets a drink ...
... and another Yellow-rumped Warbler takes a bath.
Another bathing bird.
 Shy Virginia's Warblers came down for a drink too.
A pretty Virginia's Warbler
Virginia's Warbler enjoying a bath
 A Plumbeous Vireo watched from nearby trees, waiting for an opportunity to drink and bathe.
Plumbeous Vireo watching from the trees.
I heard this Hairy Woodpecker hammering on trees long before I saw him.
A Hairy Woodpecker approaches the log ...
... and stays for a drink.
There were many Dark-eyed Juncos that came by to drink and bathe.
Dark-eyed Junco



Enjoying a lovely bath.
Small flocks of Pine Siskins came by from time to time.
Pine Siskins
During the time that I sat quietly watching the birds I could hear Red-breasted Nuthatches all around me. Occasionally one would dart down into the water.
Red-breasted Nuthatch
I had been hearing Northern Flickers throughout the day, and I was pleased to see this pretty female appear at the spring. You can see the red shafts in her tail.
Red-shafted Northern Flicker

The flicker enjoyed a drink and a bath too.
It was not only the birds that were enjoying the spring.
A Chipmunk comes in for a drink.
The wildflowers were in bloom, and I was interested to see a great many Tachinid Flies on the flowers.
Tachinid Fly
Capulin Springs is a lovely place to observe birds. These photos and the video were taken over the course of two one-hour visits to the springs. Although I did not see any rare or exotic birds, it is a lovely place to observe a nice variety of birds in a short time.

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

23 comments:

  1. Todo un paraiso este bebedero para las aves,las fotos una maravilla.Saludos

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    1. Muchas gracias por sus amables comentarios. Me alegro de que se gustan las fotos!

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  2. Great photos and such fun to see your NM birds!

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    1. Thank you very much for commenting on my post. Birding is slow here in summer, but it's excellent in the winter. :-)

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  3. Great photos especially the Red-breasted Nuthatch.
    Greetings Irma

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm happy that you enjoyed the photos. :-)

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  4. My absolute favorite kind of birdwatching - sit birding! I wouldn't be able to tear myself away from this little gem of a spot.Lovely photos, especially the crossbills, which I didn't realize you had in NM.

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    1. Sit-birding is the best! :-) You're right--it's really difficult to tear myself away from this beautiful spot. It's interesting that we have a little slice of Alpine birding here--Rosy Finches, Gray Jays, Clark's Nutcrackers, crossbills and other birds that you wouldn't expect to see in NM.

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  5. Beautiful shots! It's fun watching the birds take such pleasure in the cool running water!

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    1. A good water source is a wonderful place to see birds in warm weather! Thanks for your very kind comment. :-)

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  6. What a sweet spot Linda! Great diversity and photos, I'd love to see a log full of Crossbill!

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    1. Thank you Laurence. It really is a little gem of a birding spot. We've really enjoyed the unusual numbers of crossbills this summer. :-)

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  7. Fun photos! NM is a fun place to bird.
    The siskins might be Cassin's Finches :-)

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    1. Yes, NM is a fun place to bird. I'm happy that you enjoyed the photos. :-)

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  9. How beautiful photographs, drinking and bathing birds (and the squirrel) are soo lovely. I also appreciate the video, watching them moving and singing makes it even more real :-)
    have a great Sunday

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    1. I am so happy that you enjoyed the photos and the video. Capulin Springs really is a lovely place to see a nice variety of birds. :-)

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  10. What a glorious place to observe beautiful birds! You observed a great variety. It is always a delight to watch birds bathe. Your photographs are terrific, Linda! I truly enjoyed reading this wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you so much Julie. It's such a wonderful place to watch birds bathing and drinking! Even though the birds I saw were not unusual, with the possible exception of the crossbills, I thought people would like to see so many birds enjoying the water.

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  11. Fabulous post, Linda! I just love your photos. Almost makes me feel like I'm there. New Mexico is high on my list of places I'd love to go birding! Thanks again for a wonderful post! ~kimmer

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    1. I'm so happy that you enjoyed the post and photos Kim. You know that I have quarters for traveling birders. You and Kenn are always welcome in New Mexico!

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  12. Love this post Linda! Wonderful photographs, I love the bathing pics and I could watch that video all day :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Lisa! I'm very happy that you enjoyed the photos and the video. The video is much longer than the ones I usually post, but I just couldn't cut it down more. :-)

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