Today I flew out of Hartford with my uncle Ethan. Up at 5:15, grabbed breakfast in the hotel lobby, caught the shuttle at 6. Absolutely pouring out, but we were picked up and dropped off under cover, so no getting wet for us. Picked up the first birds of the trip, European Starlings, in the light towers.
Easy flight to Minneapolis, although we circled several times after being told we’ll be landing shortly. This was the only flight of the trip that wasn’t close to full. A little over an hour at the airport between flights, although I couldn’t find any pigeons or anything walking around the terminal.
Another easy flight to Albuquerque and we were in a little after 1PM. Something goofy with the baggage claim though, as it took almost 45 minutes to get our bags. I don’t expect that anywhere but Logan. The small hole in mine was now a big hole, but nothing appeared to have fallen out. Quick taxi ride and we were at Ethan’s house.
Our plan was to grab lunch, hit a supermarket, and then head down to Socorro. We were on the way, stopping at Rudy’s for lunch and buying extra meat for tomorrow as well. Not too bad, although I don’t care for barbecue too much.
The first major problem was that the brakes in Ethan’s jeep sounded horrible. While at Rudy’s, he called one of the car rental places and they said they’ll call right back to let us know if they have something available. We stopped at the supermarket, grabbed rolls, soda, vegetables, and stuff, and still hadn’t heard. Ethan drove down Lomas and pulled into the first car rental place we found, an Enterprise. A few minutes later, we had a fairly crappy but new and running Chevy Cobalt. We did find some amusement in the place, however. The business cards at Enterprise were quite funny. One for the Accounts Manager, Branch Manager, Assistant Manager, Manager-in-Training, and Intern. Not much of a middle ground there.
I drove the car back to Ethan’s, where we quickly shuffled some of the luggage around, and then headed for Socorro. Got the first decent bird of the trip flying down Ethan’s street, a Cooper’s Hawk (we had lots of House Sparrows, American Crows, Rock Pigeons, and Starlings first).
Getting to the highway, we added Great-tailed and Common Grackles. There was a bit of traffic, and we were amused by the Highway Safety car that we kept passing, with the driver on the phone for the entire hour she was in sight. Ethan got the car up to 90 without realizing it, so we made fairly good time.
Even though it was getting dark, we decided to see if we could make it to the Bosque (we did get a glimpse of a few cranes on the way down). We drove straight down and didn’t quite get there. It was a bit too dark to see anything, but when we stopped to turn around, we rolled down the windows and could hear large numbers of birds.
We went back to Socorro and checked into our hotel (the San Miguel Inn). Not a bad room, it had a minifridge and a microwave. The fridge was nice, since we were able to put our food and water in and didn’t need to keep running out for ice.
Not wanting to get back in the car, we walked down the main street to find a place to eat. We considered the El Camino Family Restaurant across the street, but ended up at what we thought was the Roadrunner Steakhouse. It turned out to have a different name (I have no idea what it was), but we sat down anyway. First we had to answer a question neither of us had heard in years: Smoking or nonsmoking?
The food was pretty good (I had steak fajitas and Ethan had a ribeye), but the service was interesting. They were going for fancy, but weren’t quite capable of that. Every single thing they brought out was on a cart (which kept bumping into me) and the waitress was a bit off (staring at me as she took Ethan’s order). A little pricey, but nothing wrong with it either.
We got back to the hotel and crashed pretty quickly.
Totals for the day: 12 species, 2 State birds