May 21, 2016 Raton, New Mexico

My Site at the Soda Pocket Campground
My Site at the Soda Pocket Campground

Soda Pocket Campground at Sugarite Canyon State Park, Raton

Wednesday morning, I loaded up and contined north, and upward in elevation, to Raton, just a few miles south of the Colorado border. I had checked out the campground at Sugarite Canyon State Park on Google Earth and noticed there were two seperate campgrounds, one directly off the highway that offered hookups where the sites were reservable and a larger campground a little farther north, a couple miles off the main road. This second campground did not have any hookups and was all first come first served. Figuring there most likely would be little chance of this more remote campground being full this early in the season, I set my sights on doing a little primitive camping for a week.

Soda Pocket Campground
Soda Pocket Campground

Soda Pocket Campground ( the name of the primitive upper campground at the state park ) just may turn out to be one of my all time favorite spots. There is a two mile washboarded gravel road you do have to climb to get up to this very nice secluded campground. When I arrived, there was no one there, all 18 sites were empty, so I drove around, all good interior roads, and finally chose Site #12 for my stay. There are four or five pull throughs and several backin sites that will handle a larger rig, and almost all the sites are level with mostly decent separation between sites. All have a concrete pad for the picnic table, fire ring, and shelter. Only major ding here is that there is absolutely no Verizon signal here.

Soda Pocket Campground
Soda Pocket Campground

I chose to drive straight in to my backin site to take advantage of the wonderful view down the canyon. Located at an elevation of around 7500 feet, the days are warm and sunny with temps around 80 and the nights are wonderfully cool in the 40’s.

Five Hummingbirds
Crowded Feeder

Yup, Here We Go Again, More Birds

Hoping that there just might be some birds around, I dug out the hummingbird feeders and mixed up a batch of nectar. As I stood on my stool to hang the nectar feeder from the shelter roof, I was instantly buzzed by a hummingbird that settled on to the feeder before it was even out of my hands! I guess you would have to say this looks promising.

May as well warn you, there are going to be a mess of hummingbird images coming in the next few posts.

Eight Hummingbirds
A Crowd Gathers

PairAtIrisVertCROP

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (female) and Iris
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (female) and Iris
Black-chin Hummingbird and Iris
Black-chin Hummingbird and Iris
Black-headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

In addition to the hummingbirds, that I believe are Black-chinned and Broadtails, there are several types of seed eaters that came in as soon as I put out a platform feeder, among them, Scrub Jays, Stellar Jays, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and a few pests such as cowbirds and, as if I hadn’t had my fill of them this winter in Salineno, Red-wing Blackbirds.

Black-headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Stellers Jay
Stellers Jay
Scrub Jay
Scrub Jay
Scrub Jay
Scrub Jay

Also I have spotted through the motorhome windows, Mountain Bluebirds and a single Western Tananger. A gorgeous little grey fox has checked out the seeds scattered by the birds here and several mule deer have been caught browsing the grass right outside my door. A beautiful light blond black bear was walking along the road as I was taking a stroll through the empty campground Thursday morning. As I said earlier, I believe I may have found one of my all time favorite campgrounds.

All in all, this place has proven to be a very pleasant surprise! Stay Tuned.

Note: Until I once again get to a spot with a strong Verizon signal, I am unable to update the 2016 Travel Map. It may be a few weeks.

 

March 19, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Tomorrow it all Ends

Hard to believe that five months here have passed so quickly, but with the recent heat, I would have to say, I am ready to head for cooler climes.

Salineno Birding Area
Salineno Birding Area

It dawned on me that I had never shown you the bird feeding yard here at Salineno, the scene of all these small birds in flight shots. So the image above shows you where all the action takes place and where 80 % of all the shots shown on this blog were taken.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

The other 20% were taken next to where my motorhome is parked, just a hundred feet or so from the the feeding yard shown above.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

On many of my two days off, I haul my portable post (feeding) prop over to my site and set up a small feeding area of my own.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Here I have no overhanging branches and shadows to contend with, as I do in the main yard. Also have a completely different type of background where I can get some nice soft pastel colors to show as a backdrop for the birds.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

You can probably tell I kind of liked the interaction of this White-tipped Dove and the Great Kiskadee, set against that wonderful watercolor wash background.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

The Dove was not the only other bird to contest the Kiskadee for the peanutbutter/lard/cornmeal mix concealed in the top of the post.

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher and Green Jay
Long-billed Thrasher and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jays
Great Kiskadee and Green jays
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Green Jay
Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals

It’s that time of year and the males are fighting.

Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals
Northern Cardinals
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Audubon Oriole and Green Jay
Audubon Oriole and Green Jay

” What you doing down there, Shorty !”

Northern Cardinals and Green Jay
Northern Cardinals and Green Jay
Northern Cardinals and Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Northern Cardinals and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

A Couple New Closeups

Female Northern Bobwhite
Female Northern Bobwhite

We have two coveys of Northern Bobwhites that come in several times a day so I thought I ought to make some effort to get a couple nice ground level shots of these neat little birds. Above a female and below the male.

Male Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite
Ladder-backed Woodpeck
Ladder-backed Woodpecker

A male Ladder-backed Woodpecker with a nice soft green background. The background, up until this last week, would have been bare branches with bright sky holes, but now the mesquite trees are displaying their spring green finery.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak
Female Black-headed Grosbeak

And finally, a rare South Texas visitor, one female Black-headed Grosbeak, visiting us regularly over the past three weeks.

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