Today started out early. I picked Lauren up at 3:30, we were off shortly after that. Before you knew it we were in New Mexico and the sun was coming up. Took a nice mid morning lunch break in Santa Fe and decided to try for the Rosy Finches at Sandia Crest today rather than wait until the way back. We took the back road, Hwy 14, out of town and it was a gorgeous drive to the top of Sandia Crest. Near the top, snow was blowing across the road, creating a slushy, snowy mess that caused a bottleneck of scared drivers to back up and park along the 5 foot snow banks. We manuvered around them easily, slurring through the snow-pack to the top.
The abundance of radio and cell towers at the top caused the car key remote not to work, big signs let you know of that possibility.We savored the views from the top in a freezing wind before we went inside the Sandia Crest House to enjoy the Rosy View.
Lots of birds were there, and I foolishly got (delicious!) hot chocolate for us before stopping to enjoy them so I didn’t get great pics of the numbers of birds.But Oh! The Rosies! They were there and they were gorgeous. The Black Rosy Finch has to be my favorite of the trio. Lauren and I spent about an hour there, enjoying the birds and the gift shop.
We also saw more Mountain Chickadees in one place than we’ve ever seen before. At least 8-10 of them, along with Gray-headed Juncos, a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a gorgeous but shy Stellar’s Jay.
The drive back down the mountain was gorgeous and we made our way to Socorro where we met up with some friends of mine, Gabrielle and Hans Heynekemp that I hadn’t seen for at least 25 years. It was so great to see them and we picked up and had conversation like it had only been last week. They have a great place only minutes from Socorro in the Rio Grande Valley that is host to numerous beautiful birds and their family collection of dogs and livestock.
A fantastic end to a lovely day. Now to bed and sleep. Gotta be refreshed for Bosque del Apache and Tucson tomorrow!