No Rufous-necked Wood Rail (Road Trip Part 4)

….continued from previous posts…

After a disappointing “free” breakfast of watery scrambled eggs the previous morning at the hotel, we checked out of the Plaza Inn hoping to find a diner on the way out of town. I suggested we detour into downtown Albuquerque rather than hunting for breakfast from the freeway, and Chuck spied the winning side street as we slowly drove up one main boulevard and down the next seeing one after another CLOSED sign at seven in the morning.

A sign in the window of Cecilia’s Cafe announced breakfast burritos, and it was open. The decor was a modest mix of shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe and portraits of grandchildren. How could we go wrong?

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Indeed, the huevos rancheros and chorizo burrito left us satisfied and ready to continue our southwest journey.

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huevos rancheros at Cecilia’s Cafe

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chorizo breakfast burrito at Cecilia’s Cafe

My original 2012 road trip plan was to arrive in Belen before dusk so as to look for the Burrowing Owls at Taco Bell Marsh. In order to pass through my cousin L’s town at a time when it was convenient for her AND move on to visit my aunt in Artesia on a day when she was free, I had to save those owls for another time.

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Instead I had one spare hour to cruise around Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  I was hoping that the area right around the visitor centre might be almost as productive as the gardens at Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary had been.  While Googling the refuge that morning, Chuck learned that there was much hullabaloo over a Rufous-necked Wood Rail. We arrived at roosting hour and found almost no birds of interest, just some egrets, herons and sandpipers that are easy to see back home. In fact the list of birds I’d hoped we might get but didn’t is much longer than the list of ones we saw. We had fun in the gift shop and learned from the docent that the wood rail had been reported to the local media immediately upon its discovery, but the local press had only responded when the Associated Press finally picked it up over a week later.

We got to Nogal in time for lunch with my first cousin L, her husband G, and their son C.  It was my first visit since they bought a log cabin up in the hills near Ruidoso.  I hadn’t seen my little first cousin once removed since he was about three years old! It was lovely to visit with them and see their new place–which was miraculously spared in the 2012 Little Bear fire while dozens of neighbours lost homes, barns and animals.

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Chuck, Wink and Kelly

My cousin headed off with her horse trailer to do a job while we continued on toward my aunt’s home in Artesia, stopping in Roswell because…well…goofy people have to stop there.

…continued in the next post…

 

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5 responses to “No Rufous-necked Wood Rail (Road Trip Part 4)

  1. Did my blog post help you in discovering the Taco Bell Marsh? Awesome if so. I’ll go back and re-read your posts, sorry about not seeing the Wood-Rail. I got to see it and wrote a post about it.

  2. ah, bummer. You could have seen your owls and been back on the highway in 10 minutes! That includes driving to and from where they are and watching for 8 minutes ; )

  3. Yep, burrowing owls operate 24/7 with breaks when it is really hot out and in the middle of the night. You can even tell older owls because their feathers are faded from being out in the sun all of the time. Sorry. There are many burrows around Albuquerque, I’ve found 2 myself.

    http://burghtoburque.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/bad-owls/

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