Birding Northern New Mexico
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the recent trip in New Mexico. Birding was excellent with 10 new life birds for me. It is amazing to see the variety of habitats that New Mexico has to offer birders. And you can be counted on to show participants enjoyable side adventures through little known areas that are productive for birders as well as a treat for sightseeing in general.
I have just returned from a most interesting, rewarding and very exciting trip birding in Northern New Mexico. I love New Mexico and have visited on several occasions. This time my friend and I decided to take the Yellowbilled Tours birding field trip. Rich Cimino is an excellent leader and tenacious when it comes to finding and focusing on the bird – he does everything except climb a tree to find the birds. Our first day we had very close views of Red-crossbills a life bird for me.
Other life birds were Pinyon Jays and Ferruginous Hawk on the ground and a flock of 40+ Evening Grosbeaks. Everyday brought new discoveries both of birds and animals. Of particular interest was Maxwell Wildlife Refuge. We ended the trip a Roadrunner on a grassy strip at the Albuquerque airport.
Beth Hansen 2014
September 4th to September 9th, 2016
Small-group field trips limited to six birders. Plan to arrive Sunday August 16th, 2015 in Albuquerque and book your Sunday room with Best Western Rio Grande Old Town 505-843-9500. The field trip begins with a Monday morning breakfast in the Best Western Rio Grande Hotel. Field trip ends on Friday evening 5PM at Albuquerque Airport. If you plan on staying Friday overnight you will need to book a hotel for your Friday night stay.
New Mexico is a spectacular state with an astonishing variety of ecological diversity – wet and dry habitats, wide-open blue sky, eastern plains, grasslands, mountain ranges exceeding 12,000 ft. elevation with wonderful Aspen forest, deep canyons, pine and juniper forest situated on the spine of the Continental Divide. Birding in New Mexico offers bird species found west of the Continental Divide–Pacific Flyway, as well as bird species from east of the Continental Divide–Central Flyway, which contribute to an impressive birding experience. July begins the fall migration for both Great Basin land birds and water birds, and we’ll take time to observe and understand the “Interior West” subspecies we encounter.
Day 1, Monday
We begin our field trip with an 7:00 AM breakfast and hotel pick up. After our meeting breakfast we’ll head directly to the irrigated alfalfa fields south of Albuquerque now a National Wildlife Refuge – Valle del Oro. Here we will be seeking early fall migrant shorebirds, raptors, and flycatchers. As the temperature becomes warmer, we’ll move on to Mt. Sandia (10,500’ elevation) in the Cibola National Forest to search for Pinyon Jay, Townsend’s Solitaire, both Mountain / Western Blue Birds, Grace’s Warbler, Red Crossbill, and Red-Backed Dark-eyed / Gray-headed Junco. After lunch we will make our way up the back side of the mountain to Sandia Crest to look for Brewer’s Sparrow, Clark’s Nutcrackers, up to four species of Hummingbirds. After sunset, we’ll stop for dinner then turn in for the evening at our hotel in Albuquerque.
Day 2, Tuesday
Using Arizona state highway 14 (offering good early morning birding) we will reach our destination the Audubon Canyon Ranch in Santa Fe. The Audubon Ranch offers good birding we will seek out , Interior Western Scrub Jay, Pinon Jay, Townsend’s Solitary, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Juniper Titmouse, Canyon Towhee, also we may observe Vireos,Western Tanagers and Orioles before a late lunch. Taos will be our destination after lunch. We’ll make a stop at the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument to bird along the Rio Grande River Gorge. We’ll search for Rock and Canyon Wren, Sage Thrasher, Plumbeous Vireo, and Black-Chinned and Calliope Hummingbirds at the Monument Headquarters feeders. Reaching Taos in the late afternoon, we’ll check into our rooms at the Hampton Inn. In the early evening, we’ll bird Taos within the city limits,seeking , Common Nighthawks and Red-naped Sapsuckers and warblers. We will have dinner at The Station or Mondo Italiano.
Day 3, Wednesday
We will have an early breakfast and begin birding at the Rio Grande Bridge, which rises 565ft above the river and is at 6000 ft elevation. There we may see raptors,Golden and Bald Eagle, American Kestrel and possible Prairie Falcon, Scaled Quail, Sage Thrasher, up to five sparrow species and Rock and Canyon Wrens and the Gray Flycatcher. After Lunch we’ll go into the higher elevations which surround the in an aspen forest, which should yield a Dipper, plus five species of warbler and Cordilleran Flycatcher. Here we may find the Interior West group of White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln Sparrow and Hepatic Tanager are possible. We’ll bird our way back to Taos in a relaxed manner stopping at interesting habitats. We’ll have dinner at the town plaza. This field trip does not visit the Taos Pueblo.
Day 4, Thursday
We will have another early start toward eastern locations. We’ll bird Angel Fire/Eagle Nest area as we make our way to the eastern grassland (short-grass prairies) high plains. We’ll be seeking Burrowing Owls, Southwest Great Horned Owl, Solitary Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, White-faced Ibis, Blue-winged Teal, Eastern Kingbird, Cassin’s Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Canyon Towhee. We’ll move around the Wildlife Refuge to search for Lark and Lazuli Bunting, several species of sparrow (Vesper, Chipping, Clay-colored, Brewer’s, Lark, and Grasshopper are all possible) and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Also if US-FWS opens flooded pond areas, we may see Wilson Phalaprope, Lesser Yellowlegs, Baird’s Sandpiper and both Sora and Virgina Rails.
Day 5, Friday
As we leave Taos, we take the High Road back. Birding can be very good in a few “hot spots” for missed species, seeking the Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Pinyon Jay, Grace’s Warbler, Black-throated Grey Warbler and sparrows as we travel back to Albuquerque. The field trip ends at 5PM Friday in Albuquerque at the airport.
If you plan to stay in the area longer, you will need to schedule lodging and transportation to the Albuquerque Airport when you are ready to depart.
Contact Rich Cimino at 925-353-0266, or Yellowbilledtours@gmail.com to reserve a space. Space is limited to six birders. Rich Cimino is your guide; he supplies the auto transportation, fuel, lodging, and field guide services. Airfare and meals are not included.
Cost and Cancellation
The Field trip begins and ends in Albuquerque, NM airport. The total cost of field trip is $1600.00 with four to six attendees and $2150.00 with three or less attendees. The cost of the trip does not include airfare or meals. A $900.00 deposit is required upon registration. A $100 administration fee will charged if you cancel before 60 days prior to the trip. The balance of $700.00 is due eight weeks (60 days) before the start of your field trip. If a participant cancels after the balance is paid, every effort will be made to find a suitable replacement. During the search for a replacement, $175 per search week will be taken against your balance. If you cancel, I will encourage you to help me find your replacement. If a replacement cannot be found, all payments will be forfeited. Last-minute trip cancellation by tour leader would occur only in the event of an extreme emergency. In this case, your refund will be 100%.