Balloons, Boats & Buzzards

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We had a clear morning, not a cloud in sight, for the second day of the 48th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Balloons launched in a mass ascension, but there was no wind to speak of, so the balloons hung over the balloon field for a couple of hours.

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This pink flamingo boat is what I believe to be the first special shape boat to be on the Rio Grande during the balloon fiesta.  Kayakers, canoeists, and paddle boarders paddled, floated and shoved their way through the shallows of the Rio Grande as they watched the balloons.

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My neighbor texted me that there were buzzards (Turkey Vultures) in the dead cottonwood a couple of properties south of us. There were still four hanging out in the tree sunning themselves and watching the balloons when I got there. Three flew off soon after I arrived, while the one remaining buzzard shook the dust out of its feathers and settled in to watch what was going on below.

Owl at Dusk

This short video is of a Great Horned Owl I saw in the tip top of Mia’s tree when we walking in the bosque at dusk last night. The video is made from “Live” photos I took of the owl with my iPhone.  If you are not familiar with Live photos, the phone takes a 2 to 3 second video in the process of taking the still photo.  I added a short piece of music I assembled from other songs I recorded a few months. The owl may have been one of the owls in the photos below.

Cooper’s Cry

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Cooper’s Hawk crying

We where walking on the levee well after sundown, when we heard a cry that sounded somewhat like a monkey. We looked in the trees, but could not see who was crying. Then we saw a bird jump from branch to branch. Finally a Copper’s Hawk settled on a branch where we had a better view, and I was able to get photos of it through the branches and leaves. It jumped to another branch where it was mostly hidden, but then a much larger bird, flapped it’s wings closer to the Cooper’s Hawk; but it remained hidden behind branches and leaves. The Cooper’s Hawk flew back to another branch where I was able to get another photo of it before it took off into the bosque. A Great Horned Owl (possibly Virginia) flew out from behind the branches and leaves into the bosque a few moments later. I presume the owl was after the Cooper’s Hawk’s chicks and the Cooper’s Hawk was trying to distract the owl with it’s crying. Great horned owls are three to four times larger than Cooper’s Hawks, and could easily make a meal of an adult Cooper’s Hawk, which is probably why the Copper’s Hawk was not attacking the owl.

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Looking determined
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Checking out the paparazzo or the owl or both of us.

Bufo Bluegrass in the Bosque

Everybody wants to get in on the Off Center & Not Even music scene these days. We came across a group of toads (Bufo woodhousii) in the bosque last night that call themselves The Kaleidoscopic Croakers, which is rather obvious from the photo I took of them under the light of our phones. They croaked out a bluegrass-like tune for us that they call A Chorus of Crazy Croaking.

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