We took a trip that involved starting in Albuquerque then heading south to visit wildlife area in the Rio Grande valley.  At El Paso we headed east to Carlsbad then north to Roswell and ended back in Albuquerque.

We arrived in Albuquerque in early afternoon and were picked up by an old High School friend.  We were staying with him and wife for a few days before heading off. 

 

Right before getting to his house we got the best view of a Roadrunner in our entire lives.  It was in a garden not 15 ft. from the car.  Could I get a picture?  Nooooooo...we had to get to lunch and were told they are all over the place in the neighborhood.  Never saw another one again in the neighborhood!  We rode the tram to Sandia Crest and had dinner at the base of the tramway.  Here is a picture of a beautiful sunset in the Rio Grande valley from the top of Sandia Crest.

~~~~~~~~ January 29th, 2011 ~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~ January 28th, 2011 ~~~~~~~~

We got a real nice view of a Roadrunner (New Mexico state bird) on the way to the Rio Grande Nature Center.  This one was in the neighborhood right around the Nature Center.  Look at the beautiful colors in this bird.  Note the purples in the crest and the greens on the wings.  I need a few of these at home.

This was a busy day starting with joining the 9:00 am bird walk at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  After that off we went to Tent Rock National Monument (which is NE of Albuquerque if I recall correctly).

The pond at the Rio Grande Nature Center had some great waterfowl.  All these pictures are of males.  Top left and center are Mallards.  Top right is a Hooded Merganser.  Bottom right is a Lesser Scaup.  Bottom left is a Ring-necked Duck (male)  There was a good amount of Wood Ducks in the pond too but I did not like any of the pictures I got of them!

They were mist netting and banding birds at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  The banders brought out a birds ready for release and showed them to the group.  This was very cool.  Top left is a Hermit Thrush.  Top Center is a Spotted Towhee.  The same bird (right) is being release by me.  What a thrill.  The Dark-eyed Junco is shown in Bander's hand and my wife is releasing the same bird. 

Downy Woodpecker - Note the band on the bird to right.  These pictures were taken at two different places at the Nature Center.  They could be the same bird for all I know!

Below - Our first Sandhill Crane encounters.  There were a good 2-300 birds at/around the Nature Center.

Next was the visit to Tent Rock National Monument.  What a neat place.  The hike to the top of the lookout was a good workout with some stunning views.

Left is a nice picture of our friend's Jeff and Ranee.  The very attractive couple to the right of them is your's truly and my beloved wife.  The hiking trail was narrow in some places!  At left we are almost to the top and I got this picture.  Note the Raven in the tree.  You know I had to get a bird in some picture at this place.

These are various pictures of the Tent Rocks.  A few no longer looked like tents and that is all I will say about that!

aaaaaaaaaaaaiii