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Glorieta Mesa, Pecos Monastery, Santa Fe Ski Basin 7/12/13

Today's birding tour, set up over a month ago, looked very limited until we found out that most of the Santa Fe National Forest was reopening this very morning. We headed southeast from Santa Fe to the north face of Glorieta Mesa above the town of Rowe. Breeding season has progressed so that bird song is on the wane. We still were able to call in Juniper Titmouse, Plumbeous Vireo, and a stunning male Hepatic Tanager. Moving lower to the monastery along the Pecos River we transitioned into deciduous riparian habitat. I attempted to call out a Virginia Rail from the marsh. Although it responded loudly and was close enough to us to see the grasses bend as it moved, we were never able to get a clear look. We did have great views of Blue Grosbeak, Gray Catbird, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and Yellow-breasted Chat. The Pecos River itself was a churning brew of mud and fire ash making me wonder about the fate of all the creatures in and near the water. A lone Black Phoebe kept its vigil on rocks in the river, making sallies for some of the few remaining flying insects. Next it was back to Santa Fe and up the Ski Basin Road. At Black Canyon Campground we enjoyed a lively mixed species flock that included MacGillivray's, Orange-crowned, Grace's, Virginia's, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Nearby we found a family of Red-naped Sapsuckers including a fully fledged juvenile. Retreating out of the mountains, we made one last stop in Pinyon/Juniper habitat and had great looks at Black-throated Gray Warbler-the last of the southern Rockies warbler species we had hoped to find.

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