Category Archives: New Mexico birds

After the Fires

This would normally be a Wordless Wednesday post, but today I have something to say about what has happened in my beautiful state.

This weekend Bosque Bill and I went down the Calabacillas Arroyo access to the Rio Grande to see what was happening there in light of the monsoon rains that have occurred following the La Concha and Pacheco fires earlier this year.

It was a beautiful morning, and we enjoyed looking at the flowers …

Goldenrod

Goldenrod

Hyssop Lily

Hyssop Lily

Globe Mallow

Globe Mallow

Bee Plant

Bee Plant

Blue Flax

Blue Flax

… and the dragonflies and damselflies on the walk down to the river. I am not at all confident in my ability to identify dragonflies and damselflies. Please feel free to correct any mis-identifications.

Variegated Meadowhawk

Variegated Meadowhawk

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

Aztec Dancer (male)

Aztec Dancer (male)

Aztec Dancer (female)

Aztec Dancer (female)

Powdered Dancer

Powdered Dancer

We walked down to the Rio to enjoy the beautiful view of the river and the Sandias.

Rio Grande and clouds over the Sandias.

Rio Grande and clouds over the Sandias.

We watched Snowy Egrets flying overhead.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

And what does all of this have to do with the devastating New Mexico fires?

When we got to the edge of the river, we could see that the river was dark gray with ash from runoff from the burn areas. There was a great deal of black ash along the edge of the water.

Ash in the Rio Grande from runoff after the La Concha and Pacheco fires.

Ash in the Rio Grande from runoff after the La Concha and Pacheco fires.

There were chunks of burned Ponderosa Pine floating in the Rio.

Charred Ponderosa Pine bark.

Charred Ponderosa Pine bark.

John Fleck of the Albuquerque Journal has written a blog post about how a fire affects an entire watershed. The damage from the fires and the subsequent flooding has devastated many beautiful areas in New Mexico including the Santa Clara Pueblo, Bandelier National Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve and Dixon’s Apple Orchard. Many important birding and wildlife areas were burned. It will take many years for these areas to recover.

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Filed under Damselflies, Dragonflies, Flowers, New Mexico birds

Spring Beauty at the Rio Grande Nature Center

Western Swallowtail Butterfly
Western Swallowtail Butterfly,

Western Swallowtail Butterfly,
Western Swallowtail Butterfly

Yucca Glauca
Wilson's Warbler

Snowy Egret

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Filed under Butterflies, Flowers, Insects, New Mexico birds, Rio Grande Nature Center

A Trip to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

In early December last year Bosque Bill and I went to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico’s newest national monument. Because of my work and travel schedule I never managed to put a blog post together on the trip. Kasha-Katuwe is a fascinating geological landscape of wind erosion, water erosion and hoodoos. The area’s striking geology is the result of layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by a volcanic explosion. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers created canyons and tent rocks, or hoodoos. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks.

The day was fairly overcast, but I did get some photographs to share.

Cliffs near the entrance to Kasha-Katuwe

Cliffs near the entrance to Kasha-Katuwe

You can see the Sandia Mountains from the foot of the trail.

You can see the Sandia Mountains from the foot of the trail.

Starting up the trail at Kasha-Katuwe National Monument, New Mexico.

We got closer to the hoodoo formations as we started up the trail.

Large hoodoo at Kasha-Katuwe National Monument, New Mexico.

This large hoodoo was really impressive.

Sedimentary rock layers showing  volcanic tuff and rhyolite.

Sedimentary rock layers showing volcanic tuff and rhyolite.

Starting up the trail.

Starting up the trail.

Close view of tree roots showing water erosion from periodic flooding through the canyon.

Close view of tree roots showing water erosion from periodic flooding through the canyon.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Starting up the slot canyon trail.

Starting up the slot canyon trail.

Continuing up the slot canyon trail.

Continuing up the slot canyon trail.

Looking up from the slot canyon trail.

Looking up from the slot canyon trail.

Looking up a little farther along the slot canyon trail.

Looking up a little farther along the slot canyon trail.

A beautiful swirl in the rock.

A beautiful swirl in the rock.

Emerging from the slot canyon.

Emerging from the slot canyon.

Manzanita shrub, a closer view.

Manzanita shrub, a closer view.

A view up the cliffs.

A view up the cliffs.

Close view of a hoodoo.

Close view of a hoodoo.

Going back down the trail, a view of the slot canyon from above.

Going back down the trail, a view of the slot canyon from above.


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Filed under New Mexico birds, New Mexico scenery