Sunday, February 20, 2011

Along the River

Female Merlin. Photo by David Powell.

My favorite time of day to be out along the river is the few hours after dawn, before the human masses take over the day and the wildlife goes into hiding. Last week, when it warmed up (finally!), was particularly eventful. As I walked south along one transect, I saw what appeared to be a Cooper's Hawk eating something. Upon closer approach, I looked up to watch in wonder as a female Merlin dined on a small bird, right over my head. Sadly for me, I was sans camera that day.
Common Merganser image by David Powell.

At dawn, I watched two male Common Mergansers idling along the North Diversion Channel in Albuquerque - spectacular!
Bald Eagle image by Doug Brown.

Along the more remote stretches of the river, I frequently observe Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks that roost overnight in the large trees. At one location, I've observed a black morph red-tail on each and every survey. Amazing!

American Coots in battle. Image by Doug Brown.

Although it might not feel like spring to we humans, for birds it is courting time. Males battle for females. Two male mallards in the main drain were showing off for a female, dipping and diving. She returned the display. Sadly, I didn't get to stay long enough to see which was the victor.

And, lastly, coyotes, beaver and porcupines are among the many mammals that call the bosque home. I am privileged to be able to watch them. It sure makes getting up so early worth it!

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