After spending the day in the Santa Fe area, we stopped at the supermarket and bought the fixings for a steak dinner to cook at the condo we had rented in Cochiti. Upon arrival, back at the condo, we unloaded the groceries and our camera gear.

As always, I opened my laptop and started the download of the day’s images. Jim went out on the deck to set up the grill for the steaks and so I walked out there and got an amazing surprise.

The condo next door was at an angle to ours as the building was built on the very edge of a very wide arroyo. The edge dropped off about 20 or so feet.

View from the deck of the condo on Cochiti.

What I had not seen previously, due to coming and going in the dark all the previous days, was that the neighbor’s deck was covered with bird feeders!

There were at least 10 feeders with all different types of seeds and food.

I also noticed a lot of bird calls and looked up on the side of the building to see a line of bluish birds.

Pinyon Jays

I ran inside and grabbed my camera, attached my 2X teleconverter and the 70-200 mm lens. That was the longest lens I had with me as I had not planned on much wildlife/bird photography. I slowly moved as close as I thought I could without scaring the birds and started to shoot as quickly as I could.

Mexican Jay

These birds were species I had not seen in person before so I was very excited to get some images. As always when making images of birds, I made sure my exposure was OK and then just shoot as many as I could. Birds come & go quickly so there is no time to be “chimping” the back of the camera!

Mexican Jay
White-winged Dove

I noticed that some of the birds were staging in the bushes and trees in the arroyo below the decks. I tried to get some shots over there but it was at quite a distance.

Young White-capped Sparrow
Lesser Goldfinches
White-winged Dove

But most of the birds were flying to the feeder that contained their preferred food.

House Finches

At one point a squirrel showed up on the deck and that scared the birds away briefly. But they came back as this was the motherlode of food!

Lesser Goldfinch – Male

Eurasian Collared Doves

Then I noticed that some birds were dropping down to the ground below the deck so I inched my way over there and saw some foraging around there. These were a couple of species that had not been up at the feeders.

Spotted Towhee
White Capped Sparrow

I noticed that over time the species coming to the feeders was changing. It appeared to be a dominance thing going on.

House Finch

After about 20 minutes of solid shooting, all the birds flew away. I looked over the railing and there was a black & white cat that must have come out through a cat door from the condo.

I took one last landscape shot and went into to help with cooking dinner.

We never were back at the condo during daylight so I was glad I got to see all those Cochiti – birds! I did not have my bird book with me at the time so I was not sure of what I was seeing but I looked them up and added their names to the images.

Due to using the 2X teleconverter and a relatively short zoom lens, the bird images were not what I would normally want (a bit grainy) but under the circumstances, you must make do. I was just happy to get the opportunity to get some images of these Cochiti – birds that we don’t normally have in Florida.

To see these and other images please click on one of the images or go to my Cochiti- birds gallery.

That is all for now. Part 4 of the New Mexico trip coming soon.

Lynn

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