Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seen from Sandia Crest - part 2

I may have mentioned in my previous post that I took three separate trips up to Sandia Crest. The first time was a gorgeous late morning, full of sunshine and it felt good and warm, with no wind (which is unusual) at Sandia Crest. But because it was close to noon, birds were not active and plentiful. But the views as seen in my previous post were really nice. All three trips my husband and I saw Steller's Jays. They may be robber barons, but they are beautiful robber barons. I love their coloring and their crests are so prominent. These birds are approximately 12-13 inches, so you can imagine they are quite easily seen and they certainly can intimidate smaller birds.
We spent about an hour or two at the crest that first warm day; and since we didn't see too many birds, we decided to head down the "hill." While driving down the hill we were approximately a thousand feet lower, around the ski area, and I saw a hawk perched in a pine tree. Excitedly I asked my husband to stop so I could try to identify the bird. Oh, he was so beautiful, so regal looking. I had to quickly change lenses so I could get a few decent shots of him/her. Be sure to click on the images to get a larger view. With the photo below you can see that this hawk was looking at me, probably wondering "what are you looking at lady?"
This next shot makes it look like he/she was quite annoyed with my picture taking. I wonder if I was disturbing him/her from finding its next meal. I was thinking it must be a red-tailed hawk, but I wasn't sure.
And then ... there was no doubt as it took off. Sorry about the blur - I must not have had a fast enough shutter speed on my camera. But at least I got a shot of this beautiful bird in flight.
The next time we returned to Sandia Crest it was after our trip to the Bosque del Apache. We drove up in the afternoon, but it was terribly windy and I was uncomfortable hanging around outside. So I don't think I got any bird photos that day. Instead we returned for a third trip and decided it would be best to see more birds if we go in the morning. There were dozens of birds flitting around all over the place. Many of them were red-breasted nuthatches, like these little ones in the photos below. Other birds I saw, but didn't get any decent photos of, were mountain chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches.

Did I see any rosy finches? Finally, on the third day I did! And I got to see all three species. Stay tuned for photos in my next post.


RuthieJ said...

Wow Mary, a Steller's Jay! I would love to see one of those someday. Thanks for sharing all these cool bird pictures.

Leedra said...

Lovely post, love the hawk photos.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful shots.The Stellars Jay is impressive looking,I think the Mountain Chickadee is pretty cute as well.

Ruth said...

Red-tailed hawks are quite tolerant of people in my experience. Great pictures of the bird looking down at you. It sounds as if Stellar Jays and Blue Jays have a similar reputation.

Red said...

LOL! I like the teaser :0)

Great pics of the hawk!!! And the chickadees too... very cute.

Mary C said...

Ruthie, you're welcome! Those Steller's jays are as naughty as your blue jays, except they are bigger and I guess we can say darker blue. I do believe they are found mostly in higher elevations.

Thanks, Leedra.

Thanks, Ruth. Isn't it amazing how similar the mountain chickadee looks compared to the nuthatches? One difference I've noticed is the length/size of their bills.

Hi Ruth. Yes, I think all jays are beautiful, but naughty, or should I say intimidating! They all definitely have an impressive personality, don't they.

Thanks, Red. Those are mostly red-breasted nuthatches. Only one mountain chickadee in the last pic, with a red-breasted nuthatch behind it.

Larry said...

Nice birds you saw Mary! Your camera mst b faster than mine because your flight photo would be sharp compared to most of the ones I get of birds taking off.The photo of your Jay is stellar!

Linda in Erie said...

Really great photos! The hawk is awesome. I like the color of the stellar jay, too.

Mary C said...

Larry - thanks. I took the flight photo at 285mm, f/7.1, ISO 100, and 1/400 sec. So I guess that was fast. It helped that it was in the middle of the day, bright and sunny. Glad you liked the photos.

Thanks, Linda. Glad you liked the photos.


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