Lincoln County Bird Club
        Ruidoso, NM



“Birds ‘n’ Blossoms” August 8 2017  8 - 10:30 AM
Monjeau Road (FR 117)  Lincoln National Forest

Members attending:  Jim & Barb Edwards, Anita & Ernie Powell, Yvonne Lanelli, Sue MacFarlane, Sandy Scarborough

Weather: overcast, 65 degrees F. no wind

Note: For quick reference, following this narrative report are lists of birds and flora.

Heavy monsoon rains interspersed with sunny days filled the forest with a carpet of heavy green grass and an explosion of wildflowers--in short, typical August flora. Heavy overcast, however, made identifying birds challenging.

As soon as we turned onto FR 117 (Monjeau Road) from NM 532 (Ski Run Road), Anita ID’d a female American Kestrel on a power wire (females are larger than males).

First stop: the intersection of Laguna Drive and FR 117.  A Turkey Vulture circled overhead. Dead trees silhouetted Say’s Phoebe and Olive-sided Phoebe. Several Western Bluebirds flitted between two live Ponderosa Pines. A Lesser Goldfinch, identified by its small size and black wings, zoomed over Ernie’s head. Anita noted, “Lesser Goldfinch are in our area during the summer but move south for the winter. Then  American Goldfinch move into our area for the winter.” Soft cooing drew us to Mourning Dove; sounds of tapping to an Acorn Woodpecker. We heard but did not see a Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

Jim warned everyone about the large stand of Stinging Nettle beneath a massive Gambel Oak as we wandered through patches of Hooker’s Evening Primrose, Apache Plume, Penstemons, tall Yarrow, red Mexican Hat, Cut-leaf Coneflower, Mountain Asters, and a cluster of non-specific yellow Daisies. New Mexico Vervain, also called  Spike Verbena, poked its hairy purple spikes above a cluster of gooey Gumweed’s small yellow blooms. Cranesbill Geraniums bloomed amid the occasional Blue Flax, Western Dayflower, Cosmos (both pink and white) and Salsify, also called Oyster Plant because its roots allegedly taste like oysters. None of us verified that.  One Globemallow and one scarlet Cinquefoil each showed a single flower. The most prevalent species appeared to be tall spikes of yellow-blossomed Common Mullein, also called Flannel Mullein, Woolly Mullein or Bunny’s Ear.

Just before leaving this area, Anita suspected she heard a Western Wood-Pewee. To verify, she played its song using her free Audubon app. To everyone’s delight, the bird responded.

Along FR 117 to Dry Mills Canyon Road, masses of bright red Skyrocket Gilia (also called Scarlet Trumpet or Scarlet Gilia) bloomed in open areas. At Dry Mills Canyon Road, we ID’d Goldenrod, White Clover and Fleabane Daisy beneath gray-blue droopy branches of the Rocky Mountain Juniper. Jim pointed out this is one of three species of juniper in this area: Rocky Mountain, Alligator and One-seed. The most prominent species at this stop were fields and fields of Mountain Asters and, sadly, invasive Musk Thistles. Amidst the mountain asters were two unusually large Inky-cap Mushrooms which Jim immediately imaged because of their size. The only bird we saw at this stop was a White-breasted Nuthatch.

A bit further up, we stopped to ID Sulfurflower, or Buckwheat, and Lupine but were stymied by an unidentifiable yellow Daisy.

At the source of Little Creek, where FR 117 bends sharply left and up, we stopped to examine Blueberry Elders, commonly referred to as elderberry bushes, and noted one already showed its characteristic white blossom clusters. In mid-Sseptember, berries will be ripe for picking. Members enjoy making jelly, jam, syrup or pancakes from the tart elderberries.  Also at this stop we saw Four O’clocks, Locoweed, Stickweed which Jim demonstrated on Sandy, Harebells, Nodding Onion, and Indian Paintbrush almost invisible in fields of gilia plus more lupine. Birds:   House Wren and  Northern Flicker, its orange wings apparent only in flight serving as its best field ID. Looking above the curve into a bowl-shaped meadow, Sue commented, “Take away the dead trees and it’s a beautiful view.”  Indeed,  black skeletons of trees burned in 2012’s Little Bear Fire marred not only that lovely meadow but also much of the area.

Our last stop: Skyline Campground where the clouds began to break up, allowing better imaging and ID-ing. Two large Common Ravens pecked at campfire remnants then settled in a tree across the road. A Turkey Vulture soared above, possibly the same one we sighted earlier. This stop proved better for birds than the previous ones. Several low-flying Violet-green Swallows swooped back and forth over us. Ernie pointed out its white flank patch visible in flight, a definite field mark. While walking along a narrow path, we were startled when an American Robin erupted from the grass in front of us, flew into a nearby Wild Rosebush then disappeared into a Southwestern White Pine. Anita followed a Grace’s Warbler with her binoculars for several minutes before turning her attention to a House Wren. She also sighted a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Occasional bursts of sunshine made birding easier and one member was heard to comment, “I don’t know whether to look up at the birds or down at the flowers” as Western Wallflowers, Penstemons, Western Dayflowers, Salsify, yellow Cinquefoils, Cranesbill Geraniums, Goldenrod and Yarrow vied for attention with Eurasian Collared-Dove, Steller’s Jay, Dark-eyed Juncos, and two Hairy Woodpeckers. Jim and Anita heard “something like a finch” but couldn’t make a definite ID.  Ernie saw a Thrush which “might have been a hermit thrush but I could not see its tail.”  The Hermit Thrush is the only Thrush species with a reddish tail. Anita played its song on her app, but it didn’t respond.

The trip concluded at Skyline at 10:30 AM. Members agreed it had been successful for flowers as hoped, but overcast made birding difficult. Ironically, just as we left the Campground, the clouds began to break up and move on.

Members’ next event will be a feeding frenzy, also known as picnic, on Thursday, August 24 at 4 PM at a location yet to be determined. Members, do you know of a pavilion we can use?  Contact Jim: or 937-5416.

-----Submitted by Yvonne “EV” Lanelli

For quick reference:  
Mourning Dove
American Kestrel
Northern Flicker
Say’s Phoebe
Olive-sided Phoebe
Western Bluebird
Acorn Woodpecker
Turkey Vulture
Western Wood-Pewee
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Lesser Goldfinch
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Common Raven
Hairy Woodpecker
Dark-eyed Junco
Violet-green Swallow
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Grace’s Warbler
American Robin
Steller’s Jay

-----submitted by Anita Powell.  “We stopped by Alto Lake on the way home and saw a flock of Bushtits and a Black Phoebe.  I did not put them on the list because our trip was "officially" over.”

Ponderosa Pine
Gambel Oak
Stinging Nettle
Hooker’s Evening primrose
Mexican Hat
Cut-leaf Coneflower
Mountain Asters
non-specific yellow Daisies
New Mexico Vervain, also called  Spike Verbena
Cranesbill Geraniums
Blue Flax
Western Dayflower
Cosmos (both pink and white)
Salsify, also called Oyster Plant
Apache Plume
Cinquefoil (both scarlet and yellow)
Common Mullein, also called Flannel Mullein, Woolly Mullein or Bunny’s Ear.
Skyrocket Gilia (also called Scarlet Trumpet or Scarlet Gilia) Goldenrod
White Clover
Fleabane Daisy
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Mountain Aster
Musk Thistle
Inky-cap Mushrooms
Sulfurflower, or Buckwheat
Blueberry Elder
Four O’clocks
Nodding Onion
Indian Paintbrush
Wild Rose
Southwestern White Pine
Western Wallflower



29 July 2017 - 10 AM
Smokey's Garden, Smokey Bear Ranger Station, Ruidoso, NM

Presenters: Jim Edwards, EV Lanelli, Anita Powell, Craig Cathey

Members: Barb Edwards, Ernie Powell, Barbara Cathey, Beth  Hood, Bob & Sue Macfarlane

Guests: John & Carol Howell, Winston Macy, Sharon and Larry Stephenson, Merrilee Hayes, Helen Weicker, David Hamill, Sean Clark, Deborah Burk, Amanda Foust, Pam & Ubaldo Skinner,
Erin Hegle, Carolyn Lindau, Jeff & Carol Bleau, Mike Anderson, Susan Elrod

Smokey Bear Ranger staff:  Jodie Canfield, Dan Ray. Not present was Larry Cordova, member and SB Biologist, who invited us to present.


Introduction: Jodie Canfield, District Ranger, SBRS

LCBC Welcome:  Jim Edwards,  LCBC President

Bird ID:  EV Lanelli using research material and graphic handouts provided by Anita Powell and Dan Ray, Fuels Specialist at SBRS.

Attracting and feeding do's and don't's: Anita Powell

Imaging hummers:  Craig Cathey

Drawing for hummer photo: Jim drew the name of Deborah Burk of Ruidoso

Mini-field trip led by Dan Ray to a hummer nest discovered in a tree on SBRS grounds

Event concluded approx. noon.  General consensus was that Event was "complete success."  Both Jodie and Dan expressed delight in large enthusiastic turnout. We can expect to be asked again.  In addition, Anita reported gaining six new members. Board meeting held immediately afterward.

PHOTOS COURTESY:  Yvonne "EV" Lanelli


Field Trip Report
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Members: Anita, Ernie Powell; Roger, Carolyn Dullum; Jim Edwards, Patti Van Dusen, EV Lanelli, Jake Wolfhart
Guest: Carol Bleau
Weather: sunny, no wind, temperature in high 40s.

Members departed at 8 AM from Beall’s parking lot on US 70 in Ruidoso. Enroute we observed many Common Ravens alongside the highway or pecking at roadkill. Alongside the Country Club bypass, a herd of pronghorn observed us. On Pine Lodge Road ( NM 246), three American Kestrels, White-winged Doves  and a flock of Rock Doves perched on power poles.

We arrived at the Joseph R. Skeen Visitor Center on E. Pine Lodge Road at 9:30 AM. This is a relatively new facility with displays of all the environments contained on the Refuge including an aquarium, a video theatre and east-facing viewing area with scope. There is no admission or car fee.

One video introduces the Refuge, explaining its geology, geography along the Rio Pecos, wildlife and management efforts of natural sinkholes to provide food and shelter primarily to migrating species. Although it is primarily a bird refuge, it also provides sanctuary for rare amphibians and mammals. The second video focuses on dragonflies and promotes the September dragonfly festival. Over 100 species of dragonflies and damselflies populate the Refuge, according to a volunteer.

The Refuge covers 24,536 acres and was established in 1937. Bird activity occurs year round, but waterfowl concentrations rise in the winter. Thus we saw many individuals and flocks along the gravel trail’s pullouts.

At the first stop, we spotted a Snowy Egret with distinctive yellow legs, White-faced Ibis (loses its white face in winter), American Avocet (easily recognized by its upturned beak), Scaled Quail on the ground and a Northern Harrier that flew into a desert willow. Many Canada Geese paddled on the edge of the lake, which some members noticed was at a different level than on a previous visit.

Moving to a different body of water closer to the road, we observed many Northern Shovelers  “standing on their heads” as they dabbled for food.

In the distance, skeins of circling Snow Geese reflecting sunlight appeared as clouds of smoke as they descended to the water in slow spirals. As we drove to their landing, we heard their loud honking. Although the vast majority were mature, we observed the occasional dark immature individual. Paddling also were Gadwall and Ruddy Ducks. A Loggerhead Shrike sat atop a nearby mesquite bush. This shrike is noted for its ability to impale its prey.

At the next stop, a Red-tail Hawk flew above cattails and tall sedge along water in which two American Coots paddled. At our approach, a male and female Northern Shoveler took flight over another pair who didn’t notice us because they were “standing on their heads.” We spent much time at this spot observing Buffleheads, Northern Pintails, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Ducks and in the far distance, a Great Egret.

At the Oxbow Trail Loop, three members walked the loop while the rest, concerned about possible rattlesnake encounters, remained roadside.

The final stop includes a handicapped accessible boardwalk to a covered observation blind. Here we observed Lesser Yellow Legs, Mallards, a male and female Northern Harrier pair, two Snowy Egret individuals, Cinnamon Teal, a Canvasback pair, and Pied-billed Grebe.

Leaving the Refuge, we observed Western Meadowlark and several Great-tailed Grackles.

Many members ate lunch in Roswell, at either Red Lobster or Golden Corral. We returned to Beall’s parking lot at 5 PM.

By Yvonne “EV” Lanelli
Field Trip Report
Bosque del Apache NWR • Dec. 21, 2016

Jim Edwards, President
Yvonne Lanelli
Larry Cordova (who drove USFS van w/pax Lanelli, Edwards, Van Dusen, Hood)
Beth Hood
Patti Van Dusen
Pat Miller
Randall Robbins
Mr., Mrs. Randy Ross
Annett Teter
Peggy McCart
Alston McCart
John Haigis
Ross guest
Carpools left from parking lot west of Eagle Creek Shell in Alto at 7:17 AM in overcast weather. Along NM 37, we observed  many Common Ravens and a murder of American Crows.
Along US 380, seven Common Ravens, one Red-tailed Hawk, one Golden Eagle, an American Kestrel and a Swainson's Hawk perched on various power poles.
On NM 1, overcast conditions made specific ID impossible as a flock of non-specific black birds scattered from the pavement upon our approach, an additional flock flew overhead, a hawk observed us from a power pole, ducks paddled on a roadside pond and another group of ducks flew past the van. A lone Snow Goose paddled with the ducks.
We arrived at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center about 8:45 AM where Biologist Megan Boyette and Refuge Volunteer Elzi Volks guided us into closed areas to observe wildlife and current managing efforts.
In the Bosque proper, ID improved as Biologist Megan Boyette pointed out White-crowned Sparrows, many Canada Geese alongside the road and two Bald Eagles perching in snags in flooded ponds. Paddling in ponds were many Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, American Coots, large flocks of greater and lesser Sandhill Cranes, Northern Pintails, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, three Trumpeter Swans and Common Merganser. An immense flock of Sandhill Cranes fed in a freshly mowed cornfield. Gambel's Quail scooted near the road.  A Golden Eagle perched in  a cottonwood. Meadowlarks perched on phragmites and in coyote willow.  Two bald eagles, one immature, one mature, perched side by side in a cottonwood.  A Greater Roadrunner crossed the road as we approached a large flock of Rio Grande Turkey hens (no toms) that fled into deep cover.
A first for many birders was sighting a Dark Morph Red-tailed Hawk and a Black-crowned Night-Heron.
Megan  updated us on recent Refuge activities including (1) controlling invasive species: bullfrogs, Russian olive, perennial pepper weed and parrot feather, an aquatic plant; (2) restoring amaranth seed projects on land formerly inhabited by invasive salt cedar, which had been mechanically removed, burned in a wildfire, or fallen victim to the defoliating Tamarisk beetle.
The tour ended at the Visitor Center at noon, and Megan and Elzi joined us for lunch at San Antonio Crane before we returned to Alto, arriving there about 3:45 PM.

By Yvonne “EV” Lanelli


Our regular hike days are Monday and Wednesday, with Wednesday for the easier (shorter or less strenuous) hike. We're currently meeting at 08:30 AM at the entrance to Eagle Creek Sports Complex / Winter Park Snow Play area on Ski Run Road. (Later in the year we begin meeting at 08:00 AM).

Anyone wishing to hike can just show up there Mondays or Wednesdays at 08:30 AM. They can send e-mail to: Trail Snails
if they wish to be added to the e-mail list to receive hike reports and announcements prior to each week's hikes.
For more information contact Jim
Email: Trail Snail
Phone: 575-415-4554