LADDER RANCH CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 01/04/10
This season count on Ted Turner premier New Mexico property, Ladder Ranch, was blessed with ideal weather-mid 50 and no wind. Four teams persisted from dawn to dusk despite sparrow numbers being down 80%. But even the sparrows had some bright spots with Sage Sparrows making a big jump over last year totals. The ammodramus group (sparrows) maintained its winter presence on the grassland mesas with Baird and Grasshopper identified as well as several more individuals of this vexing genus getting away unidentified. A bit of a montane invasion occurred from the nearby Black Range with several species (Mountain Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Hairy Woodpecker, and Townsend Solitaire) visiting locations on the ranch much lower than normal. Other highlights included several groups of Montezuma Quail, Eastern Phoebe, Hutton Vireo, and Northern Pygmy Owl. Some resident species that posted marked increases were Bridled and Juniper Titmouse, Crissal Thrasher and Western Scrub Jay. WingsWest Birding Tours offers tours to Ladder Ranch year round with winter being one of the most pleasant times to visit.