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Sandia Mountains-foothills and higher June 7, 2013

We began our day in the western foothills of the Sandia Mts. in Embudito Canyon. Desert birding was active despite the late date. Both Crissal and Curve-billed Thrashers were still vocalizing. Two species of quail, Scaled and Gambel's (at the extreme north end of its range) are now regular and we were able to get good views of both. Our sparrow show was rewarding with all three breeders in the canyon-Black-throated, Rufous-crowned, and Black-chinned, putting in close up appearances. A Scott's Oriole, with its melodious song, came close to investigate my playback. Since my clients were from the east coast they hoped to see a Greater Roadrunner. As we left the canyon, a co-operative individual (in response to my mediocre imitation) literally ran across the canyon mouth to where we were to get a better look at this strange intruder. We were the ones who got a better look! We then drove around the eastside of the Sandias and began to climb in elevation. Lower down, in ponderosa and oak, we found Plumbeous Vireo, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Gray Flycatcher. Higher up we had the good fortune to see Cassin's Finch, Red Crossbill, and Green-tailed Towhee. At the crest of the mountain, Violet-green Swallows and White-throated Swifts were zipping along the cliff face. We returned to Albuquerque feeling blessed with our sightings, knowing that three days later the forest would be closed.

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