After leaving Leasburg Dam Campground for six days, we came back to our home for winter – Leasburg Dam Campground. We love it because of its close proximity to Las Cruces, hot shower and free Wi-Fi, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets under the big sky. We saw the brightest and biggest super moon of 2018 here. A welcoming rain in the desert brought us a gift of double rainbows. In addition, birds keep us entertained.
The melody of curve-billed thrashers wakes us in the morning. Northern mockingbirds eat small red cactus berries by the campsite. We like to hike the Cholla Trail which takes us to Rio Grande River. Trees along the river provide shelter and food for the birds. And the river provides water. It is a good birding trail. Birds sing and fly in trees and bushes. The list of birds we saw keeps growing. The sound of phainopeplas always greet us as we approach the park by the river. They are black birds with red iris and a crest. Unlike other birds, they are quite tolerant of the presence of humans. They eat white berries of mistletoe, a parasitic plant with green succulent leaves looks like part of the trees that puzzled us until we learned about phainopeplas. The berries of mistletoe are poisonous to us but are safe for the birds. Blue birds also like those tiny soft mistletoe berries.
We were excited to see a ruby-crowned kinglet in a tree by the river. Its bright reddish crown shined brilliantly in the morning sun. It is a tiny energetic bird which hops around tirelessly. A couple of stocky black-crowned night-herons probably have a nest near the dense tamarix trees (salt cedars). They like to stay still (taking a nap?) in the bush on the bank across the river. They are easy to spot from afar because of the white breast. Night herons are more active at night. We were lucky to see them dozing off in the bright day time. We also saw them standing in the shallow water once! Night herons use sticks or bread as baits to fish. Pretty smart birds!
It was nice to see yellow-rumped warblers here. We saw them in the spring up north by Lake Erie. Now we know this is where they spend the winter. Other new birds we saw include pyrrhuloxias (desert cardinal), a yellow-breasted chat, a spotted towhee, white-crowned sparrows, a ladder-backed woodpecker, and orange-crowned warblers.
It was a windy chilly day yesterday with wind gust up to 60 miles per hour. We filled up the fresh water tank yesterday but woke up with no water coming out of the pump. Stephen opened the drain valve on the water tank outside but no water came out. It seemed that water might be frozen in the tank. He also checked the pump and it seemed to be good. Thankfully we had water pumping out from the water tank at noon when it warmed up.
I met our neighbor Sarah in the evening when we all came out taking photos of the sunset. She has a 5th wheel Escape trailer and travels with her dog Dexter. What a brave lady! Stephen knew her from the Escape forum. It was nice to have another proud Escape trailer owner camping on the same campground. Feels right at home!