Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Field Notes 3.12.12
A walk along the Rio Grande at the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge was, as always, good birdwatching. We saw a robin-size bird – black, gray and white. We were certain it was a shrike but didn’t have enough of a look to determine whether it was a loggerhead shrike or a northern shrike. We’ll keep an eye out for that one. We followed a little brown bird out into the willows and finally saw our friend the song sparrow, a bird that has lured us into the willows on more than one occasion.
Near the far end of the trail we saw two bald eagles in a tree and one soaring overhead. The head and tail of one of the eagles was brownish and we thought this is probably the last year he will be with his ma and pa. On the way in and out we saw Canada geese and mallards on the now ice-free mighty river.
We had a pleasant and funny encounter with a couple on the trail. They asked if we had seen any blue cranes. What a wonderful question. Have you seen the blue crane? A question full of adventure and mystery - The Blue Crane…The Maltese Falcon…The Golden Fleece.
We were confused at first by their question but it dawned on us that they had probably heard about the Crane Festival but confused (and mentally combined) sandhill cranes and great blue herons. In any case, we explained to them that they would have to venture onto the Monte Vista refuge to see the cranes. We let the nice couple from the big city use our binoculars to see the eagles - all three then perched together in the tree. It was a fun experience for us and we hope our new acquaintances buy a pair of binoculars and return to the Valley in search of the Blue Crane.