Overall, we saw 84 species of birds, 11 butterflies, and 4 dragonflies, plus a few mammals, lizards, and other things. It was a great four days. And I missed plenty, so I can’t wait to get back.
For planning, we relied primarily on the New Mexico Bird Finding Guide. This is an excellent book (even though my copy had the index out of order). Definitely a must if you head to the state. There were a few spots that I thought could use a bit more details, but that’s likely from the scarcity of birders in the state. The annotated checklist was extremely useful, although I would have liked bar graphs as well.
I also read reports on birdwg05 and rosyfinch.com. For butterflies, there’s DesertLeps and SoWestLeps. I also sent a personal note to someone for a few more details. There doesn’t seem to be much interest in odes, but TexOdes has very occasional posts.
We picked the hotel in Socorro pretty much at random, as with the meals. Since Ethan has the house in Albuquerque, we didn’t have to worry about that, but there’s plenty around (there were several large conventions going on while we were there).
The weather was spectacular the entire time (almost too warm, it didn’t feel right to look for the rosy-finches in a light jacket). It’s probably more likely to be much colder at this time of year, so packing heavy stuff is necessary.
I’ll end by repeating that the evening flight of cranes and geese at Bosque del Apache is something that everyone needs to see at least once in their lifetime.
A few of the pictures really don’t work scaled down, so here’s a few full-sized: