Trip report: New Mexico (February 2021) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Phil Chaon. This was a custom tour

New Mexico lies at an impressive biological crossroads. In a single state birds from the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains and Desert Southwest all converge in a spectacular array of habitats. In winter, this diverse community of birds is bolstered by hoards of wintering waterfowl and cranes seeking the precious waters of the Rio Grande. The extensive lakes and wetlands that surround the river teem with birds, concentrated there by the inhospitable desert landscape that surrounds this life-giving resource. The abundance and diversity of birds found here combined with spectacular scenery and a landscape with one of the most appealing color palettes on the continent make the state a fantastic birding destination throughout the year.

This was a custom tour with a photography focus and despite coinciding with one of the coldest winter storms in decades we had great success. While the unusual weather would have made finding some of the less common birds a difficult task on a birding tour, we found the snow and cold provided some wonderful and unique photo opportunities. In our week spent touring the state, we encountered almost all of the major birding targets and had one of the best encounters with the Rosy-finches I have had to date.

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