Plan to arrive in Albuquerque, New Mexico the evening of Monday May 13th. 2024. Book your Sunday night stay in the Airport Best Western Inn, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The field trip begins with a Tuesday morning breakfast in the hotel. The field trip ends on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 5 PM at Albuquerque Airport. If you plan on staying on Saturday overnight, you must book a hotel in Albuquerque.

New Mexico is a spectacular state with astonishing ecological diversity–wet and dry habitats, wide-open blue sky, eastern plains, grasslands, mountain ranges exceeding 12,000 ft. elevation with wonderful Aspen forests, deep canyons, plus pine and juniper forests situated on the spine of the Continental Divide.  Birding in New Mexico offers bird species found west of the Continental Divide–Pacific Flyway and bird species from east of the Continental Divide–Central Flyway, which contributes to an impressive birding experience. Spring migration through the Rocky Mountains will be underway. Birds will be making their way to the northern nesting grounds. I will bring the latest field guides for you during the trip. Bring your camera to take advantage of this field trip’s many photo opportunities. I will bring a 60 Power Swarovski Scope for the trip to share. We do not get dirty on this trip, but bring a fleece vest and light rain cover.

Towsends solitaire
Townsend’s solitaire

Day 1 Monday Albuquerque, NM.
Albuquerque warms up quickly, so we begin our field trip with a 6:00 AM breakfast, and we will be on the road by 7AM. We’ll begin by birding the irrigated alfalfa fields and the Bosque south of Albuquerque now a National Wildlife Refuge – Valle del Oro. Here we will seek early spring migrant raptors, woodpeckers, tanagers 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 and Western Blue Birds,  Grace’s Warbler, and Red-backed Dark-eyed / Gray-headed Junco(s). After lunch we will make our way up the back side of the mountain to Sandia Crest to look for Pine Siskins, Pygmy Nuthatches, Red Crossbills, Clark’s Nutcrackers, possible Gray-crown Rosy Finch and up to four species of hummingbirds. Using New Mexico State Highway 14, The Turquoise Trail, we’ll drive to Santa Fe to our Best Western hotel and group dinner.

Day 2, Tuesday Sante Fe, NM. Our destination is the Audubon Canyon Ranch in Santa Fe. After an early start, we’ll bird along the riparian and mountain path above the ranch, seeking both Virginia’s Warblers, Grace’s Warblers, Clark’s Nutcracker, Juniper Titmouse and Summer Tanager. A late lunch in Santa Fe along Canyon Road is a relaxing treat. Taos will be our destination after lunch. We’ll begin birding along the way when we enter the Rio Grande River Gorge. We’ll search for Rock and Canyon Wren, Sage Thrasher, Plumbeous Vireo, and Black-Chinned Sparrow. Reaching Taos in the late afternoon, we’ll bird Taos within the city limits, taking some time to bird a local park for Tanagers, Orioles, Vireos, Common Nighthawks, Swifts, and Sapsuckers. We’ll check into our Taos hotel, using the same lodging for three nights, and take a rest before meeting for mid-evening dinner at El Meze, with its patio facing the 13,160’ Wheeler Peak.

On day 3 Wednesday, leaving Taos after an early breakfast, we will bird the Rio Grande Bridge State Park, which rises 565 ft. above the river and is at 6000 ft. elevation.  There, we may see raptors, Golden and Bald Eagles, American Kestrel and possible Prairie Falcon, Scaled Quail, Sage Thrasher, and up to five sparrow species. Rock and Canyon Wrens, scores of Western Tanagers, and the Gray Flycatcher. We’ll purchase our lunches to picnic in a higher elevation aspen forest, yielding a Dipper, plus five species of warbler and Western Flycatcher (the Cordilleran Flycatcher).  Here, we may find the Interior West group of White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln Sparrow, and Hepatic Tanager.   We’ll fly our way back to Taos relaxedly, stopping at interesting habitats.  We’ll have dinner in Taos. This field trip does not visit the Taos Pueblo.

Day 4 Thursday, Birding Taos and local areas not yet covered. We’ll bird back road areas with some historical and cultural appeal while seeking species such as the Red Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks, Yellow-breasted Chat, and others. You can also have some afternoon downtime to go on a walking tour of old Taos and its historical sites.

On day 5 Friday, leaving Taos, we have another early start driving to eastern New Mexico. We’ll bird the Angel Fire/Eagle Nest area as we approach the eastern grassland (short-grass prairies) high plains. In route, we’ll be seeking Raptors, Sparrows, Finches and possibly Red-crossbills, Pinyon Jays, Eastern Kingbird, Cassin’s Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Canyon Towhee. Arriving at the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge for lunch. We’ll search for Burrowing Owls, Great Horned Owl, Solitary Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, White-faced Ibis, Blue-winged Teal, Lark and Lazuli Buntings. Several species of sparrow; Vesper, Chipping, Clay-colored, Brewer’s, Lark, and Grasshopper plus Yellow-headed Blackbird are all possible. Also, if US-FWS opens a new area, we may see Northern Bobwhite, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and other oak woodland species. We travel to Las Vegas New Mexico.

Day 6 Saturday morning We bird the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. National Park Pecos National Historical Park We will stop for lunch as we travel back to Albuquerque Airport. The field trip ends at 6PM Saturday in the Albuquerque Airport or a hotel of your choosing. 

If you are not flying home on Saturday evening, you must reserve a room for yourself.

Contact Rich Cimino at 925-353-0266 or Yellowbilledtours@gmail.com to reserve a space. Space is limited to 6 birders. This field trip goes with three birders with a fee adjustment. Rich Cimino is your guide; the fee includes auto transportation, fuel, lodging, and field guide services.  Airfare and meals, beverages and hotel rooms for Sunday May 5th or Saturday May 11th are not included.

Field Trip Registration: By contacting Rich Cimino at Yellowbilledtours@gmail.com

The field trip begins on Monday at 7:00 AM, Tuesday May 14th. Albuquerque, NM., in the Best Western Airport Inn and ends in Albuquerque at 5 PM on Saturday afternoon, May 18th. You need to arrive by the evening of Monday, May 13th, 2024, and stay in the Best Western Airport Inn – not covered in the field trip fee. Yellow-billed Tours will host a get-to-know-your dinner (local Mexican Cuisine).
The cost of the field trip is $3000.00 with four to six attendees, for three attendees $3700.00 and two attendees TBD. The cost does not include airfare, meals, beverages, or hotel Monday, May 13th, or Saturday, May 18th.
Registration form on request. To confirm return registration with $2000.00 deposit payable to Yellowbilled Tours. The balance of $950.00 is due March 15, 2024. A $650 administration fee will be charged if you cancel within 60 days after registering.  If you cancel after the balance is paid, there can be no refund unless a replacement can be found. 

Client Testimonials:

This is my fourth trip with Yellowbilled Tours and once again I had an incredible experience.  From the lowlands of the Rio Grande to the mountains above Taos and everywhere birdy in between, Rich took us to many places with lots of great birds.  If you go on a YBT trip to New Mexico, you not only see lots of birds but also see sights such as historic pueblos, plazas, and churches, the acequias, and enjoy good food with a congenial tour group.  You will even see roadrunners (meep meep)!  The last entry in my notebook is “What a fine birdy trip” so don’t miss out, take a YBT trip.   – Jane H., Vallejo, CA May 2022

Thank you, Rich, for expanding my bird repertoire and observing skills. I didn’t realize before that New Mexico had so many different environments with unique bird communities. High peaks, desert, riparian, and pine forest were so different. Rich blazed a winding path around New Mexico, and we observed so many personal life-birds. I am still processing what we saw, and Rich’s humor and stories fill the quiet, in-between moments on the road.  May 2022

Allen Burrough’s Orleans Cal. 2022

This is my second field trip with Yellowbilled Tours. The first field trip was to Belize. This year the New Mexico was everything I expected from a field trip. Rich starts with an introduction dinner which warms the group up. The birding locations and species are specific and are in sync with the itinerary. Lodging and meals are all top notch. The field trip pace was relaxing allowing time to study new species, take photos and discuss with other attendees.

Kent Mac Donald and Betty Smith,  May 2019

Dear Rich,
Thank you for all the wonderful birding and all the extras too.
It was a great week in New Mexico and I enjoyed every day of it.
Loved all the different locations, habitats and restaurants you took us.
I’ve added several life birds on this trip and of course for the state too.
Wendy,
California, 2017

Rich, I 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.
Tom 2014
Hi –
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 with a Roadrunner on a grassy strip at the Albuquerque airport.
Beth and Lyann 2017

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