As many of us look out of our back doors, there are nice yards—if we’re lucky. Perhaps a few native trees and shrubs to provide food and cover for our feathered friends. For most of us in suburbia, that is what we hope for, a green patch where the birds can make do on their way to someplace wider and wilder, perhaps than our acre can offer.
But then there is New Mexico.--The “Land of Enchantment” where the sun paints daily masterpieces across mesas, buttes, mountain and Sonoran desert landscapes. I was there for a meeting and had a few hours to find solace with the birds. Being an alien in this new place I needed a guide (or two) to help me find my way. Cue in Ashli Maruster Gorbet and her husband Larry!
|Ashli & Larry|
They gleefully picked me up early one morning to show me their backyard—The wilderness of Embudito Canyon. Nestled in the Sandia Mountains and sitting high above the valley that holds Albuquerque in its arid arms, it took only minutes to get from my hotel parking lot into the desert scrub. Now THAT’S a backyard!
|cotton-top! scaled quail|
So your humble wanna be poet birder turned again to verse to describe the morning’s list. It doesn't take a wilderness area to inspire poetry, just a passion for birds and words! Give it a shot—you may surprise yourself with the lyrical lines you drop!
|curve-billed thrasher serenading the morning|
A cool and bird-ful morning in Embudito Canyon.
A pair of crissal thrashers, curve-billed thrashers too. Bushtits tinkling like bells in the scrub and scaled quail scurrying through. Ladder-backed woodpecker "peeking" on a hill. A roadrunner on a rock. Scrub jays scolding the morning chill and Gambel's quail with top knots. Mourning doves, white-winged doves a Townsend's solitaire. White-crowned sparrows "chinking" calls mostly everywhere. A flicker flashed its red-shafted wings and a cactus wren from a boulder did sing as the sunlight warmed the morn.
And all the while a murder of crows and flock of house finches proved their "ubiquitousness" as the norm. To end the hike a sage sparrow ran with tail cocked high to escape our prying eyes. But beyond this list of Albuquerque birds, the human company was the real prize.
Have Fun Birding Y'all!