Waterfowl through Cranes
Scarce in Curry, single Greater White-fronted Geese were at Green Acres Park in Clovis 28-29 Apr (JEP) and the Clovis W.T.P. 18 May (ph. JRO); in the R.G.V., one lingered at Bosque N.W.R. until 7 May (MJB). A mated pair of Egyptian Geese was at Ned Houk Park north of Clovis 13 May (CMR), where a small feral flock of this exotic species appears to have become established. Several Tundra Swans continued into Mar, including one at Tularosa 2 Mar (ph. MO), up to four at and near Bosque N.W.R. 4 Mar (ph. N. Johnson), and three each at L.V.N.W.R. 3 Mar (JEP) and Maxwell N.W.R. 3 Mar (JEP). Wood Ducks appeared to be spreading in Mora, with one at Coyote Creek S.P. 9 May (JLC), up to three at Rio Mora N.W.R. 13 May (WJ-W, JLC), and three at Valmora 19 May (ph. WTE); others of note were one at Carrizozo 15 Apr (CMR, NEH) and a pair at Tularosa 15 Mar (MO). Mexican Ducks north of their usual range included three at Quemado L. 21 May (CMR, ph. NEH), one at the Apache Creek campground 21 May (CMR, NEH), a male-female pair at the Zuni W.T.P. 31 May (JAT), one at Los Luceros, Rio Arriba 20 Mar (S.M. Fettig, T.F. Hodapp), and two at B.L.N.W.R 19 Mar (A. Rodgers, C. Larson). Among the few Greater Scaup reports were six at Eagle Nest L. 13 Mar (ph. J. Patterson). Two Barrow’s Goldeneyes were at Cochiti L. 1 Mar (ph. RK).
Providing a new and northerly location for Montezuma Quail were four vocal males at four locales on a private ranch 16 km southeast of Corona, Lincoln 16 May-4 Jun (MBR). Standardized surveys for Lesser Prairie-Chickens yielded an estimated spring population of 4,230 birds in the state, a 27% increase from 2016 (New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish) but still far below historical levels. Continuing from Jan, the Red-necked Grebe at E.B.L. Dam was present 5-14 Mar (ph. DJC) and was last seen 1 Apr (JEP). Inca Dove continued to be scarce, with generally very small numbers in the south; the most northerly one was at Clovis 20 May (ph. H. Marchman). A Lucifer Hummingbird was in Guadalupe Canyon 22 Apr (WTE) and another was along Indian Creek, Animas Mts. 12 May (WTE, ph. JBS). Anna’s Hummingbird reports were restricted to Hidalgo, with one in Clanton Canyon, Peloncillo Mts. 4 Mar (ph. J. Sund), 4 in Guadalupe Canyon 22 Apr (ph. WTE), and one at Aspen Spring, Animas Mts. 13 May (WTE). Costa’s Hummingbird had a good season, with reports of displaying males from Grant and Hidalgo: 2 at Redrock 25 Mar (JBS), one at G.B.A. 27 Apr (ph. JBS), and one in the Gila Lower Box 29 Apr (MJB, NDP) plus two in Guadalupe Canyon 22 Apr (WTE). Noteworthy spring migrant hummers were an adult male Rufous Hummingbird at Soda Dam near Jemez Springs 29 May (R. Welch) and an adult male Calliope at Los Alamos 4 May (ph. RG). Broad-billed Hummingbird has recently occupied the Animas Mts.; this season there were singles in Indian Creek Canyon 12 May (WTE) and at Double Adobe 13 May (AMC). A Common Gallinule pair with five chicks was along the Bosque NWR boardwalk 20-29 May (SEM, P. & P. Hicks). Lingering Sandhill Cranes were singles at Valle de Oro N.W.R. 31 May (m.ob., ph. DT) and near Cliff 12 May (BRD).
Plovers through Ibises
An early Black-bellied Plover was at B.L.N.W.R. 29 Mar (ph. BLM); high count was three at Bosque N.W.R. 29 Apr (GKF, ph. DLH); last reported were two at B.L.N.W.R 20 May (ph. PDC). Rare in New Mexico, single American Golden-Plovers were at E.B.L. 20 Apr (ph. DJC) and Bosque N.W.R. 13 May (ph. GKF). A Whimbrel was early at Valle de Oro N.W.R. 28-31 Mar (ph. CMR, m.ob., m.ph.); others were singles at Bosque N.W.R.29-30 Apr (ph. MJA, m.ob., m.ph.) and at Weatherly L., Union 28 May (CMR, ph. S. Drilling). Noteworthy for Albuquerque were 128 Long-billed Curlews at Valle de Oro N.W.R. 25 Mar (CMR, JEP). A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Bosque N.W.R. 2 May (ph. M. Kramer, E. Ardila) provided the third New Mexico record and the first for spring. White-rumped Sandpipers were in evidence 14-28 May, with singles at Albuquerque 25 May (ph. MS) and L.V.N.W.R. 27 May (CMR), 2 at Weatherly L. 28 May (CMR), up to six at B.L.N.W.R. 14-27 May (S. Crabtree, JEP), and four at Brantley L. 13 May (RN). Seldom reported in Taos, a Long-billed Dowitcher was at Talpa L. 2 May (ph. T. Jackman). Peripheral Solitary Sandpipers were singles at Gallup 28 Apr (ph. T. & P. Herwood) and L. Roberts 16-28 Apr (J. & K. Keagle, JBS). High counts for Willet were 225 at Bosque N.W.R. 29 Apr (MJA, DLH), 78 at the Lordsburg playa 23 23 Apr (ph. WTE), and 73 at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo 30 Apr (G.A. Friedman). An early Wilson’s Phalarope was at Bosque N.W.R. 11-18 Mar (JEP).
Continuing from winter, two immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls were at Caballo L. 3 Mar, with one continuing to 9 Mar (ph. DJC); elsewhere, an adult was at Bosque N.W.R. 29 Apr (ph. MJA, ph. CMR, ph. DLH, GKF) and an immature was at the Clovis W.T.P. 13 May (ph. GMB, CMR). An adult Least Tern strayed to Morgan L. 9 May (ph. TR); high count at B.L.N.W.R. was only five counted 24 May (PDC) while only one was found at Brantley L. 15 May (BLM). Northbound Caspian Terns were three at Brantley L. 15 May (ph. BLM), 4 at E.B.L. 21 Apr (ph. DJC), one at Bosque N.W.R. 28 Apr (GKF), and four at Morgan L. 24 Apr (ph. TR). A late Common Loon was at Santa Cruz L., Santa Fe 13-23 May (ph. B. Olcott, ph. RC). Neotropic Cormorants were tending three active nests at Albuquerque’s Tingley ponds 9 Mar (ph. DLH) and four nests by 10-17 Apr (DLH), and on 15 May, two nests held large nestlings (DLH); this established a breeding first for Bernalillo and the most northerly yet for the species in the R.G.V. An impressive 2,246 American White Pelicans were counted at E.B.L. 7 Apr (ph. DJC). Up to three adult Brown Pelicans were at E.B.L. 2 Mar-7 May (ph. DJC, ph. JRO, ph. WTE, JEP); elsewhere, an adult was at Bill Evans L. 27 Apr (ph. JBS) and an immature was at Brantley L 22 Apr-20 May (ph. DL, ph. RN).
An American Bittern was “booming” at Allen L. near Springer 27 May (CMR), a new locale for that species. One to two Least Bitterns were singing at Bosque N.W.R. 17-22 Apr (JRO, JEP) and one was singing at E.B.L.’s Indian Springs 26 May (v.r. DJC). Six Great Blue Heron nests active at the Las Vegas wetlands (southeast of town) on 26 Apr-4 May (WJ-W, DLH) provided a new breeding locale; farther south, two active nests were at E.B.L.’s Indian Springs 26 May (ph. DJC) and five nests were active at Six Mile Dam 11 Apr (SW). Northerly Great Egrets were singles at Cochiti L. 3 May (E.J. Selva) and the Las Vegas wetlands 26-27 Apr (ph. WJ-W) and two at Ute L. 24 Apr (M. Weidemann). An adult Little Blue Heron at E.B.L. 25-30 Apr (ph. DJC) furnished the only report of this increasingly scarce species. Two adult Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, one carrying nest material, were together along the Las Vegas riverwalk 9 May (WJ-W). An adult Glossy Ibis near Stanley 22 Apr (ph. M.R. Johnson) provided a first record for Santa Fe; elsewhere, one was northwestat Morgan L. 2 May (ph. TR), up to two were at Albuquerque’s Alameda flats 2 May (ph. SG, ph. NEH), and at least one was at Bosque N.W.R. on multiple dates 18 Apr-12 May (ph. GKF, JEP, CMR, MJB).
Vultures through Falcons
A Black Vulture was photographed as it left its roost at Rattlesnake Springs 16 Apr (ph. M.J. Thompson), providing the third confirmed New Mexico record, the first for Eddy, and the first in the spring. An Osprey pair was nest-building at Albuquerque’s Alameda flats 23 Apr (KAH) and tended the nest through 7 May (KAH, ph. WEM, ph. DJK); a storm destroyed the nest the night of 7-8 May (KAH) but by 12 May the pair was constructing a new one (ph. DJK). Common Black Hawks continued to populate areas far north and east of their historical range, including in the upper Pecos R. at Villanueva 23 Apr-12 May (ph. D. Johnson, ph. DT) and near Santa Rosa 10 May (JN-M, RG), the Hondo, Bonito, and Peñasco rivers on the east slope of the Sacramento Mts. Apr-May (m.ob.), the middle R.G.V. in Albuquerque Mar-May (m.ob.), Belen (DLH), Veguita (ph. DLH), Bosque N.W.R. Apr-May (GKF, m.ob.), Palomas Cr. west of Williamsburg 1 May (ph. CJG), and Percha S.P. 11-15 Apr (ph. DJC, CLB, JEP) plus Tierra Blanca Cr. on the east slope of the Black Range 3 May (ph. DJC) and Gallinas Cr. on the west slope of the Black Range 26 May (JAT).
North of its expected range, an immature Harris’s Hawk was near B.L.N.W.R. 26 May (JEP). An adult Gray Hawk north to Bosque N.W.R. 1 Apr (JEP) provided the second Socorro record. Ten Broad-winged hawks were reported from nine sites in six counties from the R.G.V. eastward 14 Apr-6 May (m.ob.), including a dark morph adult at Las Vegas 20 Apr-3 May (ph. WJ-W, m.ob, m.ph.) and two circling together at Rattlesnake Springs 19 Apr (ph. RN). Zone-tailed Hawks continued to appear in areas where seldom or never reported, including singles in the San Pedro Mts. south of Golden, Santa Fe 18 Apr (ph. RC), Socorro’s Riverine Park 5 May (CMR), in w. Socorro south of the Very Large Array 13 May (MJB, NDP), and along upper Bonito Cr. west of Angus, Lincoln 4 May (WFW). Two Rough-legged Hawks along U.S. 285 in Taos north of Tres Piedras 8 Mar (Z. Pohlen) were the last reported.
Earliest Elf Owls were one in Clanton Canyon, Peloncillo Mts. 10 Mar (WTE) and two in Rocky Arroyo, Eddy 20 Mar (ph. RN); noteworthy for the Organ Mts. was a vocal one in Soledad Canyon 7 Apr (WTE). Causing much excitement was a Spotted Owl that strayed to Albuquerque’s Petroglyph N.M visitor center 1-2 Mar (m.ob., m.ph.); it was later seen in quieter surroundings in the backyard of a nearby residence 11 Mar (ph. K. Bird). South of their established range, six Lewis’s Woodpeckers appeared to be breeding in dying cottonwoods near Dusty, Socorro 13 May (MJB) in the upper Alamosa Valley. Noteworthy for Mora, an adult Red-headed Woodpecker was near Valmora 19 May (ph. WTE). A Crested Caracara was seen at Animas 2 Mar (G. Lorton) where one had been photographed in Dec; another was in the San Simon Valley north of Rodeo 14 May (C.B. Chappell). The latest Merlins were singles at Santa Fe 28 Apr (DF) and Bosque N.W.R. 28 Apr (GKF).
Flycatchers through Gnatcatchers
For the second consecutive year, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets were found north to the lower Gila R. in the Nichols Canyon area, where a pair was present 30 Apr (ph., v.r. JBS); farther south, the species was present in Guadalupe Canyon by 11 Mar (WTE) and three males were on territories there 13 May (REW, RAR). Single Greater Pewees far from their expected range were one at Albuquerque 26 Apr (ph. MS) and another northeast to N.R.T. 17 May (ph. JPB). Maintaining an Animas Mts. presence, two male Buff-breasted Flycatchers were above Aspen Spring 13 May (ph. WTE). Single male Vermilion Flycatchers were north to Bernalillo 26 Mar (ph. M. Lord) and Lamy 4-28 May (ph. RC, ph. BRF) and east to Oasis S.P. 30 Apr (A. Hersey). Typically scarce in spring, a Great Crested Flycatcher was at N.R.T. 10 May (WFW, ph. RG). More evidence of Brown-crested Flycatcher spreading into the lower R.G.V. was a vocal one near Radium Springs 16-31 May (MTS, ph. JEZ).
First found 12 Nov 2016, the Great Kiskadee at Percha S.P. continued through the winter and was reported on several dates Mar-Apr (m.ob., ph. DJK, ph. NK, v.r. NEH) and was last seen 1 May (DJC); meanwhile, out on the southeastern plains, one at Tatum 28 Apr-10 May (JEP, ph. JRO, ph. CLB) furnished the second record for Lea. Under review is a vocal Couch’s Kingbird at Percha S.P. 14 Apr (ph. DJC), while a silent kingbird of the Tropical/Couch’s species pair was at Bosque N.W.R. 14 Apr (ph. C. Harris). Two Thick-billed Kingbird pairs were established in Guadalupe Canyon 13 May (REW, RAR). A Western Kingbird was early at Jal L. 30 Mar (CLB); one was carrying nest material at Percha S.P. by 26 Apr (ph. NK). Earliest Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were singles at L. Van, Chaves 30 Mar (PDC) and near Eunice 30 Mar (CLB); west of their usual range were one near Santa Rosa 12 May (JEP) and two at Corazon Hill, San Miguel 6. May (C. Ruge). Well documented were single White-eyed Vireos along the Santa Fe R. in Santa Fe 28 Apr (DF) and at Rattlesnake Springs 6-7 May (ph. RN, ph. M. McCloy). North in the Pecos Valley, one to two Bell’s Vireos were singing at Sumner Dam 30 Apr-20 May (JEP, ph. NEH, JRO). Single Red-eyed Vireos were far west at the R.G.V. at Albuquerque 12 May (ph. DGB) and below E.B.L. Dam 22 May (DJC). A Blue Jay at Capitan 3-4 May (J. Stephens) provided a first Lincoln record; another was north of Golden but in e. Sandoval 16 May (ph. J.D. Chapman).
Purple Martins maintaining their recently established eastern plains presence were four at Clovis 13 May (CMR), three at Hobbs 27 May (JRO), and a male at a martin house 3 km. east of Eunice 26 Apr (ph. PWM). In the face of an approaching storm front, some 3,000 Violet-green Swallows were bunched up in the Gila Lower Box at Nichols Canyon 29 Apr (DJK). Bank Swallows again returned to Rio Rancho, with 20 adults in Arroyo Barranca and 50 adults in lower Montoyas Arroyo 20 May (CLH). Cave Swallows again occupied recently discovered sites north and east of Eddy, including five at a culvert east of Eunice 13 Mar (PWM) & 27 May (SW), 20 in a culvert along U.S. 70 near Railroad Mt., Chaves 29 Apr (JEP), and two in a culvert at Taiban, De Baca 28 Apr-19 May (JEP, ph. NEH, MJB, JRO); these three sites were all first discovered in 2016. One to two Verdins were far north at the Belin marsh 17 Mar (BLM, PM) & 4 May (CMR).
Way out east, three Rock Wrens, a Canyon Wren, and a Bewick’s Wren were at the caprock escarpment of Boney Hill north of Broadview, Curry 13 May (CMR, GMB). Continuing from winter, a Pacific Wren at Rattlesnake Springs was last reported 5 Mar (ph. RN). Carolina Wrens were singing at six sites at Bosque N.W.R. 18 Apr (GKF); elsewhere in the R.G.V., one was singing at Belen’s Whitfield Center 27 Mar (L. Heinze) and another was singing at Percha S.P. 3 Mar-5 May (ph. DJC, ph. NEH, JEP, JRO, GKF). Scarce statewide since the 2011 freeze, a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher was far north at Bosque N.W.R. 15 Apr (JEP). Black-capped Gnatcatcher reoccupied Guadalupe Canyon in 2016; this season found a male-female pair there 11 Mar (ph., v.r. WTE).
Thrushes through Orioles
At least one pair of Eastern Bluebirds nested south of Radium Springs Apr-May (MTS, JEZ). Western Bluebird pairs were feeding nestlings at two nests in the Corrales bosque 9 May (JMR). A Townsend’s Solitaire lingered on the prairie at Milnesand 27 May (JRO). Wood Thrush is rare and irregular in New Mexico, with most records in fall, so noteworthy was one at N.R.T. 23 Apr (ph. GMB). Unusual in Los Alamos, a Gray Catbird was at White Rock 19 Apr (RBW); also noteworthy were two far west at Nutria Canyon, Zuni Mts. 31 May (JAT) and two lingering at Sumner Dam 20 May (JRO). A Brown Thrasher was far west at Silver City 16-18 Apr (ph. JBS) and another was at Percha S.P. 4 May (NEH). A Crissal Thrasher was northwest to Zuni’s Tekapo, McKinley 31 May (JAT), the first spring record there. Phainopeplas in the southeast were one at Rattlesnake Springs 1 May (SW) and a male-female pair in lower Last Chance Canyon 13 May (SW). Two Olive Warblers were far northwest at the Zuni Mts. in Diener Canyon 30 May (JAT).
The male Purple Finch that wintered at Percha S.P. was last seen 5 Mar (ph. NEH). Canyon Towhees in the east to near the Texas border were five singing at Boney Hill, Curry 13 May (CMR, GMB) and one at the Maljamar rest area 27 May (SW). Encouraging numbers of Abert’s Towhees were in the Gila Lower Box 29 Apr, with seven west of Fisherman’s Point, Hidalgo (MJB) and seven in Nichols Canyon, Grant (JBS, MBR, DJK). Rufous-winged Sparrows continued in Guadalupe Canyon, with two there 11 Mar (ph. WTE) and a singing male there 13 May (REW, RAR). Noteworthy for Los Alamos, a Black-throated Sparrow was along the Rio Grande 2 Apr (ph. RBW). Two Lark Buntings were far northwest at Chaco Canyon 27 May (ph. E. Haskell). One to two singing Grasshopper Sparrows entertained many at Valle de Oro N.W.R. 8-14 May (v.r. NEH, m.ob.) while noteworthy for Mora was one singing at Rio Mora N.W.R. 13 May (WJ-W); the high count in the east was eight singing north of Melrose 13 May (JEP).
A Baird’s Sparrow in Jornada del Muerto grasslands 26 km east of San Antonio 11 Mar (JEP) was this season’s lone report. Song Sparrow is a recent colonizer from the west into the state’s lower Gila Valley; this season, five were at Virden 13 May (S. Stumbo), five were in the Gila Lower Box in Hidalgo 29 May (MJB), and three were at Redrock 20 Apr (JBS). Noteworthy for Los Alamos, a Golden-crowned Sparrow was at White Rock 30 Apr (ph. R. Walker); another in the Organ Mts. at Dripping Springs in Feb continued to 11 Mar (M. Perkins). Yellow-eyed Juncos were at two sites in the Burro Mts., with two on Burro Peak 15 Apr (K. Dayer) and two in Deadman Canyon 27 Apr (ph. J. Gorey); farther south, seven were in the Animas Mts. 13 May (ph. WTE). A Bobolink was singing at Valle de Oro N.W.E. 11-28 May (ph. MJA, MS); another male at Tatum 10 May (CLB) furnished the only additional report. Orchard Orioles west of their usual range were single males at Hillsboro 15 Apr (JEP) and near Radium Springs 14 May (MTS, ph. JEZ). A male Hooded Oriole was early at Rodeo 19 Mar (ph. D. Zappone); another male was far north at Albuquerque 26 Mar (ph. R. Simpson).
Warblers through Dickcissel
A Worm-eating Warbler was west to the Sandia Mts. 4 May (WEM) and another was seen by many at N.R.T. 12-13 May (m.ob., m.ph.). A Prothonotary Warbler south of Cannon A.F.B. 14 May (ph. DGW) provided a first record for Curry. A Swainson’s Warbler was at N.R.T. 10-14 May (WFW, m.ob., m.ph.); there are less than a dozen state records. Also rare in New Mexico, a male Tennessee Warbler was at Boones Draw 20 May (MJB). Lucy’s Warblers returned north to the Albuquerque-Corrales area by 20 Mar, with reports from eight locales from Santa Ana Pueblo south to Albuquerque’s south valley during the season, including a family group of four at Valle de Oro N.W.R. 29 May (CMR) and a singing male at Kirtland A.F.B.’s Tijeras golf course 24 Apr (MJB). Kentucky Warbler is a rare but nearly regular spring transient; this season one was at Rattlesnake Springs 30 Apr (ph. RN). Among several Hooded Warbler reports was a male west to the Animas Valley 30 Apr (ph. B. Orozco) and another male singing at Los Alamos 27 May (ph. M. Schraad, M. Smith).
A Cape May Warbler singing in the Burro Mts. 24 May (ph. MRB) was the state’s first record since 2012 and the 15th record overall. Single singing Northern Parulas were at Albuquerque 12 May (WEM) and Bosque N.W.R. 8-9 Apr (ph. SG, MJB); farther east, singles were near Stubblefield L. 19 May (DWM) and at N.R.T. 12 Apr (WEM). A Magnolia Warbler was at N.R.T. 17-19 May (ph. JPB, JRO, ph. DGB). Single Chestnut-sided Warblers were at Los Alamos 27 May (ph. S. Knox, ph. J. & C. Heikoop), Edgewood 7 May (P.L. Noble), Boones Draw 20 May (MJB), and Rattlesnake Springs 21 May (ph. DL). A Blackpoll Warbler was at N.R.T. 10 May (JEP, ph. DJK). Single Palm Warblers were far west to the Sandia Mts. 1 May (WEM) and Los Alamos 24 May (M. Smith).
A Yellow-throated Warbler west to the Animas Valley 13 May (ph. NM-C, ph. J.T. Shiflett) furnished a first record for Hidalgo. A Hermit Warbler strayed far east to Rattlesnake Springs 28 Apr (NM-C). Single Painted Redstarts were north to two Jemez Mts. sites: Los Alamos 11-14 May (RK, ph. NEH, m.ob., m.ph) and Bandelier N.M.’s Frijoles Canyon, Sandoval 20 May (ph. CGL). A remarkably early Summer Tanager was at the Waldrop rest area, e. Chaves 23 Mar (ph. PDC). A male Northern Cardinal was at Albuquerque’s BioPark 12 Apr-6 May (J.M. Stewart, m.ob.). Single male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were west to Farmington 19-24 May (ph. TR) and near Abiquiu L. 6 May (C.D. Hathcock). A Painted Bunting was west to the Waldo area, Santa Fe 13 May (ph. J.L. Hatt) and 2 were singing west to Sumner Dam 14 May (ph. NEH, CMR). Two Dickcissels at Weatherly L. 28 May (CMR) established the third consecutive year that the species had been found singing there; in the R.G.V., one to two were singing at Valle de Oro N.W.R. 11-28 May (ph. MJA, MS).