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Possibly First Ever Sighting of Long-billed Curlews in Los Alamos

on April 24, 2013 - 7:45am
Long-billed curlews in grassy areas north of San Ildefonso Road. Photo by Dave Yeamans
 
Long-billed curlews in grassy areas north of San Ildefonso Road. Photo by Dave Yeamans
 
Special to the Los Alamos Daily Post
 
Los Alamos Open Space Specialist Craig Martin, one day after Earth Day and two days after his installation as a Living Treasure of Los Alamos, crowned the occasion with what may be the first ever sighting of eight long-billed curlews in the grassy areas north of San Ildefonso Road on North Mesa.
 
He spotted them at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, photographed them and alerted the PEEC birders group.
 
Independently, a neighbor alerted PEEC birder Dave Yeamans, and by 2 p.m. other birders had gathered in what was then a bitter-cold snow squall. The birds were visible, but evidently felt like huddling in the grass while their admirers managed to get better photos than direct sight.
 
Then the sun emerged, the birds flew to a location closer to the road, and finally a magnificent close-up viewing was possible.
 
Curlews are shorebirds that nest in grasslands, currently migrating from Mexico or southern Texas to the northwest or midwest of the U.S. (or southern Canada.) They are unmistakeable with long decurved bills, buffy breast, cinnamon-colored underwings, and lovely mottled back.
 
Their location as of mid-afternoon on Tuesday was the grassy fields opposite the Estates Drive development.
 
 

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