Was it Samuel Taylor Coleridge who famously wrote, “Birds, birds everywhere but not a one worth a @#*$” or was it just me? I’m sure plenty of birders know what I’m talking about… the summer doldrums.

Despite the patently obvious fact that birding can be somewhat boring when one is confined to resident breeders, Seth and I took a chance on Montezuma NWR. Alas, the tantalizing possibilities of cranes and rails and bitterns became naught but a mirage. We weren’t cranky about being craneless (although I’m still bitter about the bitterns – arf arf arf) because of the quality in the absence of a quantity of birds. Our day list wasn’t long but we made the most of what we saw, starting with the sweet suprise of two new Purple Martin houses at full occupancy…

Purple Martins, Montezuma
Papa Purple tending chick

Martins weren’t the only birds tending young…

ospreys, Montezuma
Osprey family

Some birds were focused on feeding themselves…

waxwing, berries, Montezuma
This Cedar Waxwing scores two berries at once

And some birds just stood around looking cool, a tough feat for most Killdeer

killdeer, Montezuma
Cool Killdeer

Shorebird and waterfowl numbers were relatively low but raptors were high, particularly Bald Eagles chasing each other in the upper altitudes. Great Blue Herons represented for long-legged waders while Willow Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird seemed to be catching most of the flies, at least the ones the abundant Barn and Tree Swallows didn’t snap up. Our least common birds of the day were surely the Black Terns flocking out in the middle of the Main Pool, which itself looks more like a field. At the end of the day, it wasn’t worth tallying up the meager number of species we saw. What ones we encountered, familiar though they were, were surely worth the trip.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.