On Monday, a few of the Arroyo Colorado Audubon people went to look for Mountain Plovers and Sprague’s Pipits. They had been reported in a spot about hours drive north west of the RV Park. The day started off with a very heavy fog. Birds were difficult to find for the first hour or so. We took an interesting back roads route. I was shown a small lake that was home to a COLLARED PLOVER last year for about a month.
The drive was very birdy. We didn’t see a lot of hawks, though. This White-tailed was neat. We had a couple of Red-tails, also. And of course, American Kestrels are everywhere. Vultures seemed scarce yesterday, too. Ponds, flooded fields and small lakes were all over the place along part of the route. I added Mottled Duck, Ring-necked Duck and Eared Grebe to my list for the year. A very co-operative American Bittern was great to see. In the area of McCook, doves were plentiful. Eurasian Collared Doves, White-winged Doves, Mourning Doves, Common Ground-Doves and Inca Doves. In one field alone, there were easily 500 Rock Pigeons. Near this area, I also found a Greater Roadrunner.
One stop, (gave us time to eat a nice cup of coffee yogurt), we watched a flock of Pyrrhuloxia frolicking along side the road, along with some Savannah and Clay-coloured Sparrows. But the highlight of the morning, was finding the MOUNTAIN PLOVERS that had been reported the day before. 5 birds had been seen and we located 4 of them. This was a LIFER for me and that brings my total up to 549 species north of the Mexican border.
Both Eastern and Western Meadowarks can be found in the Valley in the winter. The National Geographic Field Guide says that “Westerns are gregarious in winter; large flocks are often gather along roadsides”. I have encountered such flocks.
Unfortunately, we dipped on the Sprague’s Pipits. But I am sure some are around and will continue to look for them. We also spotted a Chihuahuan Raven sitting on a fence on the way back home.
Back at the trailer, Curve-billed Thrashers, Northern Mockingbirds, Great-tailed Grackes are coming to the platform feeder a front from my front window and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is coming to the nectar feeder regularly.