Tag Archives: wildlife

Autumn Color in the Jemez Mountains-Part I

Golden Quaking Aspen

Golden Quaking Aspen

Along with the Sangre de Cristo range 35 miles distant across the Rio Grande valley, the Jemez Mountains form part of the southern Rocky Mountains, which stretch over 2,000 miles north into Canada. The Jemez Mountains contain no great natural landmarks, rather they are a large area of mostly undisturbed forested wilderness, with rocky peaks, meadows, mountain streams, lakes and waterfalls. More unusual features result from past volcanic activity: There are hot springs, sulphurous vents and a caldera, which is a ring of hills comprising the remains of several long-extinct volcanoes. All the mountains form part of the 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest. This area was the the site of the destructive La Concha fire this past summer.

Bosque Bill and I decided to take a trip to the Jemez last weekend to see the fall colors. It was Bill’s birthday, and we thought that that a photo outing combined with a picnic would be a terrific way to celebrate.

Our first stop was at a camping area near the Pueblo of Jemez, which is an independent sovereign nation with an independent government and tribal court system. It is a federally recognized American Indian tribe with 3,400 tribal members, most of whom reside in a puebloan village that is known as Walatowa, a Towa word meaning “this is the place.”

The scenery at this first stop was lovely, although the fall colors were just beginning to show.

Jemez fall colors

The Jemez River and red cliffs.

We saw American Robins in the Rocky Mountain Junipers, feasting on berries.

American Robin in a Rocky Mountain Juniper

American Robin in a Rocky Mountain Juniper

Dark-eyed Juncos foraged on the ground.

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon variety).

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon variety).

Our next stop was Battleship Rock, a spectacular basalt rock cliff at the confluence of the Jemez River and the East Fork of the Jemez River. An interesting fact about this formation is that the basalt columnar joints are horizontal rather than the much more common vertical joints.

Battleship Rock

Prow of Battleship Rock, surrounded by fall colors.

Fly fisherman near Battleship Rock.

Fly fisherman near Battleship Rock.

Jemez River near Battleship Rock.

Jemez River near Battleship Rock.

Glorious Gambel Oak color near Battleship Rock.

Glorious Gambel Oak color near Battleship Rock.

Before we took the road to Fenton Lake, we stopped to admire this hillside covered in flaming Gambel Oak foliage.

Gambel Oak cover this hillside.

Gambel Oak cover this hillside.

We paused to admire this lovely Mountain Bluebird.

Jemez Fall Color

Mountain Bluebird

On our way to Fenton Lake we stopped at an overlook where we got our first real look at Quaking Aspen and their spectacular golden autumn color.

Golden Quaking Aspen in the Jemez Mountains.

Golden Quaking Aspen in the Jemez Mountains.

Lovely stand of Quaking Aspen at the overlook.

Lovely stand of Quaking Aspen at the overlook.

Another view from the overlook.

Another view from the overlook.

Gambel Oak at the overlook in the Jemez Mountains.

Gambel Oak at the overlook.


We stopped and ate a lovely picnic lunch at Fenton Lake. We were joined by two Steller’s Jays …

Steller's Jay, Fenton Lake, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.

Steller's Jay

… and this cute little Least Chipmunk.

Least Chipmunk, Fenton Lake, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.

Least Chipmunk

Everywhere we went we were surrounded by gorgeous fall color.

Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountain, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.

Quaking Aspen grove.

In Part II of this post I will show you what we saw on our return trip.

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Filed under Jemez Mountains, New Mexico scenery

I Feel Pretty

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me tonight.

Praying Mantis

I feel charming,
Oh, so charming
It’s alarming how charming I feel!
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I’m real.

Praying Mantis

See the pretty girl in that mirror there:
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty dress,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!

Praying Mantis

I feel stunning
And entrancing,
Feel like running and dancing for joy,
For I’m loved
By a pretty wonderful boy!
(Whose head I ripped off.)

Praying Mantis

Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

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Filed under New Mexico insects

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

Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Red Saddlebags Dragonfly - Tramea onusta

Black Saddlebags Dragonfly - Tramea lacerata

Blue Darter Dragonfly

Blue Darter Dragonfly

Variegated Meadowhawk - Sympetrum corruptum

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Filed under Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Dragonflies, Insects, Odonata

Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

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Filed under Albuquerque Biopark, Butterflies, butterfly

Butterfly Wings I–Zebra Longwing

This past weekend I went to the Butterfly Pavilion at the Albuquerque Biopark to photograph butterflies. I became fascinated with watching the butterflies, and before I knew it more than three hours had gone by. In the next week or so I will be posting photos from the Butterfly Pavilion. I loved the Zebra Longwings (Heliconius charitonius).

Zebra Longwing, Albuquerque Biopark

Sipping nectar

Zebra Longwing, (Heliconius charitonius)

Sipping nectar, another view

Zebra Longwing, (Heliconius charitonius)

Different flowers

Zebra Longwing, (Heliconius charitonius)

View from the front

Zebra Longwing, (Heliconius charitonius)

A closer view

Zebra Longwing, (Heliconius charitonius)

An in-flght photo

Zebra Longwing, (Heliconius charitonius)

Beautiful wings

Stay tuned for more butterfly photos.

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Filed under Albquerque Biopark, Butterflies

Mammals on Monday

I spotted a very healthy coyote yesterday morning as I was driving down Rio Grande Boulevard. He had just missed an attempt at catching a lovely male pheasant. By the time I was able to bring my vehicle to a stop he was already trotting away. He was not very concerned about having his photograph taken.

Coyote

Coyote

Coyote

Coyote

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Filed under New Mexico mammals