Pic of the day

Autumn comes to La Cieneguilla
Click to enlarge

Autumn – and autumn colors – comes to La Cieneguilla. Looking south towards the mouth of the valley along the bosque of the Santa Fe River.

Took this about 3 days ago – and we’ve already had our first day or so of snow flurries that melted away. Such a beautiful time of year here in New Mexico.

Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up — February 17-20

Dunno what you two want; but, I’m waiting for lunch

Warmer temperatures and lack of snow in parts of North America are setting the stage for what could be a most intriguing 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count coming up Feb. 17-20.

Bird watchers across the United States and Canada are getting ready to tally millions of birds in the annual count coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon and Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

In past counts, participants were most likely to report American robins in areas without snow. Will more robins be seen farther north this year? Will some birds, such as Eastern Phoebes, begin their migrations earlier? And where will the “Harry Potter” owl turn up next? Snowy owls have dazzled spectators as these Arctic birds have ventured south in unusual numbers this winter — an unpredictable occurrence that experts believe is related more to the availability of food than to weather…

Participants count birds at any location they wish for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their tallies at birdcount.org. Anyone can participate in the free event, and no registration is required.

Last year, participants submitted more than 92,000 checklists with more than 11 million bird observations. These data capture a picture of how bird populations are changing across the continent year after year — a feat that would be impossible without the help of tens of thousands of participants.

This is a very detailed snapshot of continental bird distribution,” said John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Imagine scientists 250 years from now being able to compare these data with their own..?

Visit birdcount.org to learn more about how to join the count, get bird ID tips, downloadable instructions and more. The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter at least one bird checklist online.

It’s fun to log back in a few days after all the info is online to compare changes, see what other folks in your region have posted. We now have redwing blackbirds wintering over, experienced the din of returning robins earlier than ever this week, saw Canadian geese heading north last week.

Winter dawn

You may tire of photos of some of the places I walk with Rally. I always seem to return to my favorite places.

Actually what caught my eye is the willow thickets maturing in the river bosque which seem to be getting redder through each succeeding winter – since their restoration from grazing range.

Pic of the Day

Not an ego trip, today, putting up one of my own photos.

Happened to be doing a monthly run-through with my inkjet printer, yesterday, and chose to print this as a test. It came out pretty enough that I decided to post it.

If you click on the image, you’ll get the larger .tif version – which is about 3mb.

Burdocks are New Mexico’s answer to sunflowers. At their peak just at that boundary time where summer is ready to become autumn.