2020-12-17 Wednesday At The Rio Grande Nature Center

Black-Capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus
Tuesday at 10,600’ the chickadees I met were Mountain Chickadees. Now Wednesday, at 4900’ it was Black-Capped Chickadees. The Rio Grande Nature Center is one of my favorite locations to visit when I’m in Albuquerque. This was my first winter visit, and it did not disappoint.

There is a small reserve on the northwestern edge of Albuquerque I have enjoyed since some of my earliest visits to the region. It is the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park. Within its grounds are woodlands (called a bosque), open fields, and wetlands with ponds. My previous visits to this reserve have been during spring through late summer, and I looked forward to meeting the birds of winter here. I was not disappointed.

My friend Jerry drove us from his Nob Hill home near Central Avenue in Albuquerque, and after enjoying the scene at the blind in front of the wetlands near the parking lot (including a beaver munching breakfast), I left him to enjoy his photo-ops while seated, and I wandered the grounds with my tripod and camera gear. 

The strains of winter had denuded the trees in the bosque, but this allowed me to see the hordes of small passerines flitting about the bare branches. Finches were present in abundance, especially Pine Siskins. Another species I enjoyed meeting were the Black-Capped Chickadees. Tuesday, at the 10,600’ Sandia Crest, I met Mountain Chickadees. Now on Wednesday, on the Rio Grande Valley floor, the chickadees were Black-Capped. By the time we finished our visit, I met and photographed American Goldfinches, a North American Beaver, Black-Capped Chickadees, Buffleheads, Canada Geese, Gadwalls, Lesser Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, a Spotted Towhee, Western Bluebirds, White-Breasted Nuthatches, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers (both Audubon’s and Myrtle Warblers).

Winter isn’t the best time to document the scenery at the reserve. I would encourage the reader to use the map attached to the gallery and switch to satellite view, then zoom in to get an aerial view of the location.

Click map markers to reveal further information