We went in town for grocery shopping and our eyes were brightened by the white and pink tree blossoms. Despite the freezing morning, it warmed up quickly and locals were wearing T-shirts and shorts. Driving on the country road, we were surprised to see large willow trees greened up. All of these signs told me that spring has sprung in Las Cruces. And spring is two months earlier than Toledo, OH. I feel like a singing bird.
Speaking of birds, I saw five cedar waxwings in a leafless tree. They were scared away by a car entering the park. Two of them flew to a cottonwood tree covered with dry leaves and some mistletoe. I walked over there and stayed under the tree and searched for them really hard. Their brown plumage blended so well with the dry leaves. So it took me quite some time to locate them. They stayed in that tree motionless as if meditating in the setting sun. To my surprise, they didn’t take off. Maybe they thought that they were invisible in the tree and felt safe. Another bird that was not fear of humans is phainopepla. We always saw a phainopepla staying in the same bush. It never minds our presence even when I was only 3 feet away pointing the camera lens towards it. Got some nice photos of another phainopepla when it was perching on the top of a bald tree.
We haven’t seen dramatic change in the landscape of the Leasburg Dam State Park. But this morning we noticed that some tall trees by the river bloomed like overnight. The yellow green flowers attracted lots of bees. And the collective humming sound of bees was as loud as a drone. The sound of our footsteps startled a night heron and some other birds and they flew to new hiding places everywhere. We sauntered on the riverside trail among the salt cedar. Suddenly, a bird took off from the thicket. “An owl!!!” Stephen uttered excitedly. I stopped and looked around. As I turned my head, a pair of big round eyes in the shadows of the thicket met my eyes. A great horned owl was looking straight at me at almost the same height just several feet away. I clicked the button on the camera as soon as I got it in focus. Only two clicks, and there they fluttered away. We didn’t know there were three owls! Who would have thought owls would rest on the bare branches of salt cedar at day time? That was way cool! It was my first time ever seeing a wild owl up close.