April finds my gorgeous indoor blooming geraniums, longingly pressed against windows, demanding to return to the great outdoors but no, not quite yet! Maybe when the hummingbirds are back, peering in at the blossoms? My targeted date is April 15, more or less, the household ready to welcome a colorful tiny bird to commemorate the day in 1912 when the Titanic struck an iceberg and all merriment sank. Also, currently, tax day.
According to the ABQ Biopark, "hummingbirds are the second largest group of birds on the planet, with more than 300 species. Native only to North and South America, they can be seen in Alaska and elsewhere throughout the United States, and as far south as Chile and Argentina.” Evidently, 17 varieties of hummers have been spotted in New Mexico.
Consider putting up two feeders at first, filled with a mix of one cup sugar to four parts water, or just a small amount, one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water. No red stuff! We put up hummer feeder number three once the feisty rufous variety arrive—you likely have seen those rusty colored swoopers disturbing the peace. Three feeders help to maintain civility.
Yes, those are not “seagulls.”
Hanging out in the river near the beach south of Alameda Boulevard are indeed gulls. They arrive each year near the Bachechi Open Space. But they also wander the wonders of the Rio Rancho dump, err, landfill, it is said.
Corrales’ Janet Ruth, retired research ornithologist, author of the 2018 book Feathered Dreams, instrumental in having the Corrales Bosque Preserve named an “Important Bird Area,” and co-author with her husband, photographer Dan Krueper, of the Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Corrales, released in January 2021, educates us.
“The vast majority of the gulls that roost on the sandbars just north and south of the Alameda Bridge are Ring-billed Gulls. They spend the winter on lakes, rivers and the ocean on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts and throughout much of the southern two-thirds of the U.S. (except in the Rocky Mountains) and much of Mexico.”
Ruth confides that “it drives birders nuts when they're called seagulls because some of these gulls spend very little time at the ocean!”
She also says: “In addition to seeking Ring-billed Gulls, birders are known to stand on the bridge or along the shores carefully scanning through the multitudes for the unusual gull species that might be hidden there. In my Annotated Checklist, I note records for these other species: Bonaparte's Gull, Franklin's Gull, Mew Gull, California Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Glaucous Gull.” (Further regarding Ring-billed Gulls: allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ring-billed_Gull/overview.)
Plovers turn up each spring, too, not too far from watery runoffs, looking like sandpipers frantically in search of a seashore. (Right, Ms. Ruth?)
Let It Rain
Fungiphiles are thrilled with recent rains/snows as moisture means morels.
Not only are ‘shroom hunters in California positive about the recent over-the-top rains in that state, fungi hunters here are, too. Corrales’ Sandy Gold reports that mushrooms have been severely scarce for the past two years but this month she and her associates, members of the New Mexico Mycological Society, are headed into the Sandias to the Doc Long Trail area in Cedar Crest.
They will be snooping among the pines there for their faves, morels and others. Feel free to explore the Society website—membership for full participation is $20 a year: nmms.wildapricot.org.
As for morels, “wild food” website Untamed Feast describes them as “honeycomb-like, and earthy and nutty, woodsy and toasted.” For a truly wild deep dive into this superlative fungi, consider thegreatmorel.com.
Official Corrales Scenic Historic Marker Replaced at Last
Finally, the graffiti-slathered, weed-surrounded historic marker at the corner of Jones and Corrales Roads has been replaced. We are puzzled by the spelling of San Ysidro as Isidro here, even as we delight in a new sign, however poorly written. Did you catch some missing bits of punctuation?
Happily Hoop-Housing Together on May 4
Hopeful hoop house builders are invited to gather at Wagner Farm, 5000 Corrales Road, to learn the how-to. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s a hands-on opportunity to build a structure for food production, undertaken with sustainability and irrigation in mind. Sponsored by Wagner, NMSU Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde, and Sandoval County Cooperative Extension. It appears to be free, and snacks, drinks and lunch are provided. Info: Rachel Zweig, 505 867 2582. If you would rather build a hoop house remotely, take a look at this instructive circular: pubs.nmsu.edu/_circulars/CR606/.
Local artist’s cards for the win
Corrales’ Bonnie Mitisek has released two new pastel cards this spring, on sale around town at Ambiente, Et Cetera Consignment, the Village Merc, and Alameda Greenhouse. For fans of vintage camper vans/cute animals.
Another win for lavender sachets?
That customer in Trader Joe’s exultantly sharing her affection for lavender sachets need not know that you utterly eschew scent devices in your dryer. But get this. According to TJ, “after several dryer cycles, you'll have yet another use for these sachets—simply sprinkle the florets on your carpet and vacuum them up for an instant room refresher.” If you are so inclined.
Pajarito Acequia trail gains funding
The Center for Socially Sustainable Systems (CESOSS) Acequia Education Trails Project snagged a dollop of funding from New Mexico’s Outdoor Recreation Trails+ grant “to increase accessibility, connectivity, safety, and visibility to the Pajarito Acequia." The grant of $39,000 for the Trails Project focuses on “intercultural acequia education” related to the Pajarito community. Pajarito Acequia lies on the far west side of the 1860s Gutiérrez-Hubbell House property, along the Camino Real in the South Valley. This National Historic Trail today extends 404 miles between El Paso,Texas and Santa Fe. The oldest European roadway on the continent established by Spanish settlers, it likely sits atop a trail first carved out and used by Indigenous people.
FYI The outdoor recreation industry employed 28,475 New Mexicans in 2021 and contributed $2.3 billion to the state GDP, ranking New Mexico 5th in the nation for outdoor recreation employment growth.
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