Jerry, Mom and I left Columbia Saturday afternoon--ahead of our planned Sunday
departure and the predicted ice storm.  Our trip has taken us along a path we've
trod many times before.  It has adventure and nostalgia--many places remind me
of so many of you and the times and birds we've shared.

Below are some highlights and thoughts of the last few days.

Sunday we checked out Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City.  This was the first time
we'd been there.  Good choice.  Many fine views of birds.  Best of the site was
an immature Thayer's Gull.  Yup, one new Oklahoma bird.  So, I'm
listable....again.  But who's counting?

On to Foss Lake and some ponds to the west.  A pair of Tundra Swans on one.

After a night in Elk City, we zipped through the Texas panhandle and were
treated to a flyover of a Prairie Falcon.  This was good.  The weather in
Amarillo was predictably horrendous—ice, interstate back up, etc.  One might
even consider living in Buffalo, NY if given the option of that or Amarillo.

In New Mexico we stopped by the wetlands east of Tucumcari.  Well, they were wet
last spring.  No water & no birds now.

We took the 7 mile drive up to Santa Rosa Lake SP.  At least 300 Mountain
Bluebirds--spectacular.  The lake is extremely low.  A total of 7 ducks on it.

On to Moriarty and the famous sod farms.  Not a single bird in sight.

We looked carefully for Della’s burrowing owl on our way to Frank and Lupe’s
restaurant in Socorro.  No owl, but the mole was supurb. [That’s mole in
Spanish—the sauce, not the English burrowing critter.]

Down to Bosque del Apache.  Sandhills everywhere.  Snow Geese, Roadrunner (I
think we've seen 5 now).  Spotted Towhee in front of the visitor center--at
least one has been there every time I have for several years--how can there be
anything left to eat in that little scrubby area?

On to Truth or Consequences.  Out to Elephant Butte Lake in the morning.  The
New Mexico RBA of last week reported adult Thayer's at the marina--and it was
still there!  Hundreds of Western and Clark's Grebes--quite a sight with all
those long white necks.

The RBA also spoke of an Osprey at the Oxbow Pond in T or C.  No one we asked
knew what or where it was.  We found it quite by accident returning to the motel
from the park.  And on a snag sat the Osprey!  Thus, we saw 2 new birds for
NM--one short of the 3 needed to be listable...again.  But, who's counting?

Down I-25, west at Hatch on 26.  Fantastic looks at a Golden Eagle--off the pole
and to the ground, then back up.  At the end of 26 a Lewis's Woodpecker had been
reported.  It was there.  Nice year bird, not new for NM.  But who’s…

West on I-10, south on NM 80--the road to Rodeo.  Wow! looks at a Ferruginous
Hawk.  Unfortunately for the hawk, our stopping alerted the ravens and the chase
was on.  In Rodeo, one Crissal and one Bendire's Thrasher and a good look at a

Over to Portal.  Portal in January is not Portal in August.  One bird at a
feeder--Bridled Titmouse.  And another Bendire's Thrasher on a post on the way!

In Sierra Vista, the blimp is up.

At Paton’s:  Mrs. Paton came out; we had a nice chat.  She said the rains came
too late this year; the deer are crunching on pecans.  She just doesn’t know how
the grocer’s old produce gets over her fence, but the deer eat it.  Beautiful
Lazuli Buntings and an Anna’s Hummingbird entertained us.

Up Madera Canyon (after a stop at Tubac for new shirts).  Mexican Jays and
Yellow-eyed Juncos were there.

Waved wistfully at the Sweetwater Wetlands (a Least Grebe is there) and
longingly at the Red Rock turn off (the Ruddy Ground Doves still there)—but
we’re short of time…maybe on the way back.

Tomorrow?  Well, we’re in Yuma and the Salton Sea is just up the road a piece.
And in one corner abides a cowardly gull.  This gull, with feet of appropriate
color, has not had the nerve to show itself in my presence, despite several
visits to honor it.  Maybe this time?

Edge Wade
west of Columbia, MO
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