Last week I visited New Mexico for a little field work. On Tuesday, I made an epic drive from Albuquerque north to Abiquiu and back. Along the way I saw some cool things.
I made a quick stop at Valles Caldera, a beautiful grassland that was once the interior of a massive volcano.
The Los Conchas wildfire burned much of the forest surrounding Valles Caldera.
This one was a scorcher and it may be centuries before woody vegetation returns to these hillsides.
Among the things I love about the Southwest are roadside shrines like the one above. I don't have a particular religious reason to enjoy them, I just think they look cozy. When I stopped to check out this shrine near the Chama River, I noticed another cozy nook on the cliff in the background.
A Common Raven on a nest. It was a religious experience after all!
There was a second raven nest on a utility pole outside of Abiquiu. This one had downy nestlings begging inside.
My final stop before returning to Albuquerque was the tiny village of Chimayo.
I found some ancient churches with more nooks and bought some red chile, a local specialty, to bring home.
Now that my New Mexico fieldwork is complete, I plan to spend much of May birding around Oregon. Stay tuned!