Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Field Notes 5.27.12
For Memorial Day weekend we went to the old Fort Garland to see the historical re-enactors with plans to do some birdwatching on the way home. In the parking lot we saw a Say’s Phoebe sitting on a fence post. We enjoyed visiting with the uniformed men and women and hearing about the history of the Civil War period.
We headed back to Hwy. 160 and saw two turkey vultures soaring in the high winds. Up the road towards the Sand Dunes we stopped at the Nature Conservancy’s Zapata Ranch and birded the nature trail. Our first sighting was a gorgeous western tanager. The red and yellow bird is conspicuous among the green leaves of the tall cottonwoods. We also saw several western wood pewees, a northern flicker and a western bluebird. Near the parking lot at the end of the trail we saw an unusual looking dove land on the ground. It was very cooperative and allowed us to get a good look at it before it flew up into a tree. It was a white-winged dove, a rare spring sighting in the Valley.
Our next stop was nearby Smith Reservoir. We have been hoping to add Clark’s grebe to our list and sure enough, there were several out on the water. We strolled along the water’s edge and saw a violet-green swallow, along with other swallows, darting in and out of the deciduous trees.