Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Mexican Spotted Owl at the New Mexico Hummingbird Festival


For a number of years the New Mexico Hummingbird Festival has been held at Lake Roberts, New Mexico. Some years there is a festival; some years there is no festival. I was excited to learn that there would be a festival this year and that a birding friend from Las Cruces and a birding friend from Arizona would attend. Although I received all this information less than a week before the festival was scheduled to start, I began making plans to attend.

The festival was held at the Little Toad Creek Inn and Tavern near Lake Roberts in the Gila National Forest.

There were many hummingbirds. We happily watched Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Calliope Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds and Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the many feeders. Joan Day-Martin gave an informative presentation on hummingbirds in the area, and there were other presentations as well as children's activities. The accommodations were charming, and the food at the inn is excellent! I enjoyed seeing birding friends again.

As delightful as it was to see all of the hummingbirds, the feeders were not really set up for hummingbird photography. I decided to give up on photography for the most part and just enjoy watching the birds.

On the second day of the festival, one of the attendees offered to take us to an area where he had seen a Mexican Spotted Owl. We were very enthusiastic as only one of us had seen one previously. We hiked up an unmarked canyon, went around a bend, and there this gorgeous bird was, sleeping on a ledge. It was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen as a birder. We didn't want to venture too close for fear of disturbing the bird. We stayed in the canyon for the better part of an hour, enjoying being in the presence of such a magnificent creature. The light could have been better, we might have been able to get closer, but I treasure these photos.

I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed being able to take them.

Sleeping Mexican Spotted Owl with a deer-track pictograph above his head.
The owl sees us but is not concerned. We were very careful not to upset it!
A little feather preening.
Mustn't forget the feet!
What a beautiful bird!
Of course, there were plenty of hummingbirds at the festival.
Rufous and Black-chinned Hummingbirds
A Calliope Hummingbird shows off it's beautiful gorget.

The children who attended the festival enjoyed hummingbird activities with Joan Day-Martin.

 There were Black-headed Grosbeaks in the trees around the inn. . .
Male Black-headed Grosbeak
. . .  and Canyon Towhees foraged beneath those same trees. This one seemed to enjoy the path lighting.
Canyon Towhee
As we were having breakfast on the deck Sunday morning, we watched a Great Blue Heron fly across the valley. We were surprised to see it land on an electric transformer.
A Great Blue Heron finds an unusual perch.
 There were plenty of Mule Deer in the forest near the Inn.

The best part of the trip was seeing birding friends. It's my favorite reason for attending birding festivals!
Cynthia White, Donna Simonette and Donna's son Juan
Juan had a wonderful time netting insects while we were on our nature walk.
Juan and his net
A Water Strider for the net.
The Gila National Forest is a lovely, relatively unspoiled area in a remote area of New Mexico. It is a wonderful place to visit.
Prickle Poppies in the Gila National Forest

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

30 comments:

  1. Great shots, Linda. The Mexican Spotted Owl is a beautiful bird for sure.

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    1. Thank you very much Scott. Seeing the Mexican Spotted Owl was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.!

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  2. Great photos Linda, especially the owls are sublime.
    Greetings Irma

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    1. Thank you very much Irma. The owl was indeed a lovely creature!

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  3. Amazing pictures. The hummingbirds and the spotted owl are all very good shots. Looks like a fun festival to go to. We are still getting some hummingbirds at our feeders here in Michigan. Please check out our huge selection of hummingbird and other wild bird feeders on our website: http://www.backyardbirdparadise.com/home.html

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind comments Mitchel!

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  4. Beautiful photography Linda! What a cool event. Thanks for sharing it with us!

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    1. Thank you Robert. This is a lesser-known event in a part of the state that doesn't receive too many visitors. I did want to give them some publicity because I had a wonderful time!

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  5. Sounds like a delightful festival! I would be filled with glee seeing the variety of hummingbirds you mentioned, as I have only ever seen Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. A truly awesome experience observing the Spotted Owl. Fantastic photographs and post, as always!

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    1. Thank you Julie. The hummingbirds were wonderful, and the owl was of course the highlight of the trip. Thank you for your very kind comments!

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  6. What a treat to see the Mexican Spotted Owl at this festival. So many wonderful photos! I sure would love to see that many hummers too! Wonderful post.

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    1. Thank you Debbie. We are fortunate to see many hummingbirds for six months of the year in New Mexico. The Spotted Owl was a real treat as well as seeing birding friends. :-)

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  7. Preciosas imágenes. Un beso desde murcia

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  8. Preciosas imágenes. Un beso desde murcia

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    1. Muchas gracias por sus amables comentarios. Me alegro de que te gustan las fotografías.

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  9. Great post and pictures Linda - looks like a great place.

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    1. Thank you Dan. It's a lovely place to visit. Thank you for your kind comments about the post and photos!

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  10. Very nice Linda! Did you bribe the owl to be next to some rock art - rock art and birds are two of my favorite things . . .

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    1. If bribes would work you know I would! Occasionally I just get lucky, and I'd rather be lucky than smart. :-)

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  11. Enjoyed the post, Linda. Lovely photos!

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    1. Thank you very much Hilke. It's very kind of you to comment on my posts. :-)

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  12. Howdee Linda,
    Sigh, wish I was there with you lovely gals! Wonderful bird sightings. awesome owl photos!

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    1. Hello Lovely Dawn. The only way the weekend could have been better would be if you had been there with us. The owl was amazing! You'd have loved the place. :-)

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  13. Love owls. :) And that stork sure found the strangest place to land.
    Enjoyed your photos very much! Thank you, Linda.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I love owls too. The photos don't really give you an idea of how big those Mexican Spotted Owls are! I'm always happy to share my experiences, especially those in New Mexico.

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    2. Oops. Now why did i type "stork" instead of "heron". :P
      (Wish I was there too. Never seen a hummingbird in person... hopefully some day, I will :) )

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    3. Stork, heron; tomato, tomahto. You will have to come to NM and AZ. We'll show you lots of hummingbirds. :-)

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  14. Wow, being at the festival must have been great and seeing your birding friends too! That owl is amazing Linda!

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    1. Thank you very much Mia! Isn't he beautiful??

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  15. Great post and a neat festival. The owl is cool and a wonderful sighting. I enjoyed you photos.

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