Monday, November 26, 2007

Festival of the Cranes, Friday, Nov 16, 2007

All of Friday was spent in the town of Socorro. All three presentations were held at the Macey Center of New Mexico Tech. Our first event was "Birds of New Mexico" presented by Mary Alice Root, former president of the New Mexico Ornithologists' Society. Mary Alice's presentation was very good; she is so knowledgeable about birds as well as where one can find specific birds and the seasons when the birds can be located. Mary Alice was also one of the tour leaders for the Mountain Birding Tour that was also led by Julie Zickefoose and Bill Thompson. When the event was over, we had about half an hour before the next event began. So I went downstairs to take a couple of pictures of some artwork I think was done by some NM Tech students that I found so fascinating. These two pieces of artwork were in glass cases, so I tried to eliminate the glare by taking the pix without a flash. These art pieces were created with several different types of fabric. Everything you see (including the banjo) were all made from fabric. Click on the photos to get a larger view.

The next event was called "The Night Shift." It was presented by Matt Mitchell, a local resident (living in San Antonio, New Mexico), who is a falconer and wildlife rehabilitator. Matt's talk was specifically focused on owls of New Mexico; and he brought along some friends who are used for educational purposes - a saw-whet, burrowing, great horned, and a barn owl. This was another very informative presentation and enjoyed by all who attended. Afterwards we had time in between again. So this time I went outside to see what I could find. First of all, so many of the cottonwood trees both here on the campus and at the Rufuge were so brilliant, but I kept forgetting to get a photo or two of the best and most brilliant ones. So here is at least one photo which really doesn't do justice for the vibrancy or intensity of the yellow on the trees. In the past when we have attended the Festival, all of the trees were bare. But this year the area has experienced an autumn that has been quite mild in temps. So it was rewarding to be able to see the fall foliage this year at its peak.

As I walked around the campus I came across a children's playground. I guess there is child care for those students who need it. Anyway, I stood around watching some activity going on in the bushes behind the playground equipment. Birds were flitting in and out and all around. I had to keep my distance because when I would try to approach the birds to better identify them they would fly back into the bushes. I'm glad I had my binocs handy along with my camera. While looking at the birds through my binoculars I finally realized they must be juncos. These juncos looked a little different from the ones I see in my back yard at home. They seemed to be a little bigger and more colorful, rosier on their sides and more chestnut on their backs. You can click on the photo to see a closer view of them. They sure were cute to watch.


mon@rch said...

Love the cool art work and how wonderful you were able to spend so much time with zick and bill!

Adam R. Paul said...

Cool, I'd have loved to have been at the owl talk! Dark-eyed Juncoes are hugely variable, with many subspecies looking little like the ones we have in the SF Bay Area.

Mary said...

You know, I've noticed the Juncos in my backyard look different than last year. They are a bit larger and have more brownish coloring on their backs.

Great photos, Mary. You had such a fabulous trip. Looking and reading what you, Julie, and Bill, have shared lets me know that NM is tops. Did I read that you once lived in the state?

Mary C said...

Monarch - thanks, and yes, it was so good to spend some time with Julie and Bill (and their kids). I also enjoyed meeting Jeff Bouton - he is so knowledgeable.

Adam - yes, you would have thoroughly enjoyed the owl "talk." And I was a bit surprised at the difference in size of the juncos compared to the ones here in the Bay area.

Mary - Isn't is funny how these juncos look bigger than a house sparrow? And yet, the house sparrow always seems to look so large compared to the house finches. You might want to consider attending next year's festival, especially if Bill and Julie plan on returning. You certainly would enjoy all the festivities. And yes, Dave and I lived in ABQ from 1996 through 1999.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks for sharing all these sights from your New Mexico trip with us.

I have lots of the slate-colored juncos here in Minnesota, but was excited to see the little Oregon junco when visiting my brother in California and now here in your New Mexico story also. They are so striking looking compared to the slate-colored ones.


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