Rufous Hummingbird: Bear Canyon Campground, Santa Fe National Forest, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA — I shared one shot if this juvenile Rufous Hummingbird at these flowers in the Bear Canyon Campground above Santa Fe, New Mexico a week or so ago, but I can not leave my New Mexico experience without sharing a couple more poses. The Hummer was very busy and remained around the flowers long enough so that I got a number of keeper shots. In these two you can see the the distinguishing features on the front side of the bird. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos, assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Snowplant, Beardstongue (Pentstimon), and California Cone Flower. Capulin Snowplay Area, Sandia Peak Highway, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Sandia Mountains rise abruptly above Albuquerque to the east and slope gently (more or less) further to the east on their trailing edge. The updraft from the Rio Grande Valley at their base drops moisture as it goes over the 10,000 foot crest, and makes the forests on the east side some of most well watered in the Southwest. You can tell by the abundant wildflowers, and rich bird life. Here we have another selection of flowers from Capulin Snowplay Area on the slopes of the Sandia, just off the Sandia Crest Highway. Snowplant is a parasitic plant that is fed by a fungus on the roots of trees, similar to the Indian Pipes we have here in Maine, but as you see, much more colorful. The purple Pentstimon replaces the more common red Penstimon of the lower slopes at this elevation, and the California Coneflowers grow in large masses in the wetter meadows and along the edges of parking areas. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Snowplant at ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th, Pentstimon at ISO 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th, Coneflower at IS0 100 @ f5.6 @ 1/800th.
Yerba Mansa: Leanora Curtin Wetlands Preserve, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA — The Leanora Curtin Wetlands are a tiny cienega (a natural marsh) just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, managed by the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. It features a small pond, boardwalks over the marshy area, some giant Cottonwoods. and acres of wetland plants, including large beds of Yerba Mansa. While comments made by others during our visit lead me to believe that Yerba Mansa might be an invasive exotic, a bit of research this morning indicates that it is indeed native to New Mexico and wetland all the way to the west coast. It is related to the Lizard Tail plants, and the aromatic roots have been used in traditional medicine to treat skin and digestive disorders. The flowers are pure white when new, and get the red spots as they age. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100. 1-3 @ f7.1, 4 @ f5.6 @ 1/1000th.
Red-breasted Nuthatch: Sandia Crest, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA — There were hundreds of Red-breasted Nuthatches along the Sandia Crest Nature Trial when we visited last week. New Mexico Nuthatches seem to be quite large by Maine standards. They seem to be pretty much the same size as our White-breasted Nuthatches. In Maine the RBNH is noticeably smaller, by a full size, maybe a size and a half, than the WBNH. The same perky little bird though…always busy. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and given the Machine Learning Maximum Resolution treatment in Pixelmator Pro, then cropped back to fill the fame more, and finished in Apple Photos. I am guessing the net result is a frame of view approximately equivalent to a 2000mm lens on a full frame camera. This is my new method for overcoming the limitations of a 600mm equivalent lens for small birds at a distance. 🙂 ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
This is another wildflower from Sandia Crest high above Albuquerque, New Mexico…and one that totally had me stumped. It is a pretty unique flower, with the bright yellow petals (or bracts) pulled in tightly around the true flowers in the center, in fairly large clusters, hanging like bells below the stems…but one that I had definitely not seen before. I actually identified it using Google Lens, which returned the name, Nodding Ragwort, as well as hundreds of other images. The bee is a added bonus, and you can see front he pollen on the legs that though the flowers look strange, they are very productive pollen factories. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
I still have lots of photos from our week in New Mexico…so many wildflowers! This is a small selection from Sandia Crest east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Sandia Crest Highway takes you up to over 10,000 feet and the trail takes you out along the edge of a cliff and then back through the woods behind. We have here, as far as I can tell, one of the Wild Onions (perhaps Nodding, but at this elevation it looks considerably different than the Nodding I saw lower down), Columbine, Bluebells, and Paint Brush. I selected these photos for the contrast in color and for the isolation against the background (provided by the 600mm macro on the Sony Rx10iv). For macro I use program and my standard custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. These are all at f4. Paint Brush is at ISO 500 and 1/500th, Bluebells and Onion at ISO 100 and 1/1000th, Columbine at ISO 100 and 1/640th.
Cassin’s Finch: Capulin Snowplay Area, Sandia Crest Highway, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA — As near as I can figure this is a juvenile male Cassin’s Finch. From the right angle you could see just a blush of reddish on the chest. There was another bird with it that was probably the adult female. Both sat above the water drip at the Snowplay area for most of the time we sat there…going on an hour. We left primarily because I came to the suspect we were keeping them from their drink (and partially because our two non-birders had exhausted the entertainment factor of the old road through the picnic area). Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
In the six days we spent in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, we encountered several different lizard species. The trouble is that all but one were whiptails, and I do not know enough about whiptails in general, and New Mexico whiptails in particular, to reliably distinguish them where the species overlap as they do in Santa Fe. Also there are several possible Fence Lizards in New Mexico. I have captioned the images with my best attempt at an ID based on the resources I could find on the web and in apps. Anyone who really knows their Southwestern Lizards can feel free to correct me. 🙂 To complicate matters, the New Mexico Whiptail is a fertile, female only, hybrid between the Little Striped Whiptail and the Desert Grassland Whiptail, both of which also occur in Santa Fe. So. All photos with the Sony Rx10iv at or near 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Green-tailed Towhee: Capulin Snowplay Area, Sandia Crest Highway, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA — My daughter Sal who lives in Albuquerque took us up Sandia Crest Highway to get away from the high temperatures and wildfire smoke settled over the city and to find some birds to photograph. We stopped at the Capulin Snowplay Area and walked down to the springs where there is water drip that attracts all kinds of birds depending on the time of day. This Green-tailed Towhee came and took several baths in the unaccustomed heat. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Flame Skimmer: Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA — The morning of my daughter’s wedding celebration in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Carol and I went out to explore the local cienega (marsh or wetland in Spanish) just south of town. It is one of the very few natural ponds and wetlands in the high desert of northern New Mexico, and is owned and managed by the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. Three short trails and some boardwalks provide access to birds, flowers, and dragonflies in season. We saw very few birds, probably because we were not there at dawn, but there were a good number of dragonflies and damselflies, and lots of interesting (though mostly invasive) flowers. This is the Flame Skimmer…a largish dragonfly, and certainly a highlight of any trip to the Southwest. There were two active around the little observation platform built out over the pond. It took me the better part of a half hour to catch one sitting close enough for a good photograph. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent from about 6 feet. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640.