Monday, September 30, 2019

LCBC autumnal equinox birding trip Monjeau Road on Sept 14, 2019

"A perfect bird-y day," exclaimed members of Lincoln County Bird Club (LCBC) as they began their annual fall equinox field trip along Monjeau Road on a recent sunny September Saturday. In the first  quarter-mile they observed  acorn woodpeckers, common ravens, turkey vultures, as well as hummingbirds, sparrows and doves. A mule deer doe with a two spotted fawns ambled ahead of a squirrel as yellow warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin, green-tailed towhee, MacGillivray's warbler, Steller's jay, Western bluebird, female Western tanager, Wilson's warbler, lesser goldfinch, olive-sided flycatcher, orange-crowned warbler flew overhead. 
details of a four o'clock blossom as seen
 through a macro lens.
 Image by Ron Hagquist

Wildflowers still bloomed in abundance: scarlet gilia, mountain daisies, box elder, coneflowers, Hooker's evening primrose, cowpen daisiesOne birder pointed out a snag into which woodpeckers flew in and out. "Granary tree," she noted, "where the woodpeckers will store food for the winter and raise their young."

Ripe elderberries are a mid-September
 treat found  in abundance along
 Monjeau Road. 
Image by Yvonne Lanelli
A Scottish harebell blossom seems to heavy for
such a delicate stem. 
Image by Yvonne Lanelli
At what another member refers to as "Elderberry Turn," they pulled over and spent nearly a half hour observing into the vast open spaces. Many turkey vultures soared overhead with red-tailed hawks, common ravens and an American kestrel. One birder tried out his new macro lens on closeups of late summer wildflowers: goldenrod, mountain asters, mountain daisies, skyrocket gilia, Mexican hat coneflowers, yarrow, locoweed, Apache plume and wild roses with rosehipsAnother member collected ripe elderberries, anticipating elderberry pancakes.

Further uphill,  two ravens harassed two Northern goshawks in a dead tree.  Goshawk sightings are rare, according to "Sibley's Guide to North American Birds." A Northern flicker and chipping sparrows flew past.

At Skyline Campground, they observed a red-tailed hawk atop a dead tree, turkey vultures, green-tailed towhees  in elderberry bushes, red-backed darkeyed juncos, Western bluebirds, more warblers, white-breasted nuthatches, and acorn woodpeckers. Photographers imaged sulfur flowers, also known as buckwheat, New Mexico vervain, Scottish harebells, locoweed, fleabane, yellow cinquefoil, dayflowers, mountain iris, sage, cranesbill geranium, cosmos, four o'clocks, brown-eyed Susans, cowpen daisies, wild roses with rosehips and nodding onion.

The trip concluded at the trailhead of Crest Trail #25. As they scanned the high altitude skies, a red-tailed hawk soared above the canyon yet at eye level. A last bit of sun illuminated its plumage. "A fitting conclusion to our trip," they agreed.

At a different meeting, the Lincoln County Bird Club enjoyed a visit to the Capitan Public Library to view the artwork of fellow bird club member, Greg Haussler.  His artwork is on display at library until Oct. 15 

LCBC meets every month at locations around the area to plan field trips and discuss birding opportunities. They next gather at Sacred Grounds Coffee and Tea House on Sudderth Dr. in Ruidoso at noon on Thursday, October 24. For information, contact LCBC President Jim Edwards, 575-937-5416 or

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