Joe Healy, Lawry Sager, Walt Teilmann
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is located on two properties with distinct habitats: the pinon/juniper scrubland of the Botanical Garden at Museum Hill and the pond and riparian woodlands of the Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve (LCWP). In birding, as in real estate, it’s “location, location, location.” Sixty species are common to both locations but each site has birds not likely to be found at the other.
Commonly Seen at Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve
The American Robin favors the trees of the riparian woodland. The Red-winged Blackbird dwells in the cattails and reeds of the wetland. While we think of these birds as resident, the individuals we see in summer may not be the same as those observed in winter.
Less Common at Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve
White-faced Ibises are colorful wading birds with long legs and long curved specialized bills. Migrating from Mexico, they were apparently attracted to the LCWP pond to forage on aquatic prey and rest. They probably continued their migration further northward to summer breeding grounds in fresh water marshes in the U.S. and Canada.The Virginia Rail, one of a group of Small Rails, is a small, thin, marsh bird. Its laterally compressed body is credited with the origin of the expression: “thin as a rail.” With a gray face, rich reddish breast, short tail, long bill and short rounded wings the Rail likes wet marshes filled with cattails and other reeds. Because of its usual secretive behavior, identification often relies on its habitat and call. On two occasions, we played a recording of its call and lured it out in the open so we could all observe it!
Birders will enjoy Bill Schmoker’s (Virginia Rail photo) bird photo site schmoker.org/BirdPics