Day 1: Tuesday, November 7, 2017
We will depart the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Lunch will be included enroute. Our adventure begins at Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, a major wintering area for waterfowl. Here we may see more than twenty species of geese, ducks and grebes. Prairie falcon and golden eagle are among the many possible raptors that winter here. Merlin and ferruginous hawk are possible. Hotel accommodations will be Best Western Plus Montezuma Inn in Las Vegas New Mexico. Dinner on your own.
Day 2: Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Continuing our travels southward, we will stop at the Rio Grande Nature Center in Albuquerque. Birding the Nature Center should offer ducks on the river joined by a multitude of possible songbirds; sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees, bluebirds, phoebes and woodpeckers brighten the surrounding woodlands and fields. We’ll stop in Old Town Albuquerque for lunch and free time on your own. Continuing south, we’ll spend the evening at the Elephant Butte Inn in Elephant Butte, New Mexico. Dinner on your own in the restaurant located in the Inn. Breakfast included.
Day 3: Thursday, November 9, 2017
We travel to Elephant Butte State Park and Caballo Lake State Park for the next leg of our southwestern exploration. We are now far enough south to find numerous species typical of the arid southwest: phainopepla, pyrrhuloxia, black-tailed gnatcatcher, Gambel’s quail, crissal thrasher, black-chinned sparrow and white-winged dove are just a few of the possibilities. The next two nights will be spent at the Holiday Inn Express in Socorro, New Mexico. Breakfast and box lunch included. Dinner on your own.
Day 4: Friday, November 10, 2017
Having sampled a wide variety of avian appetizers, we are now ready for the main course: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (“Apache Woods”). Here we will be treated to the prehistoric calls of the cranes and honking of thousands of snow geese. The cranes and geese are not the whole show here, either. We may see a roadrunner scurrying up a draw or the cinnamon flash of a brown thrasher as it assumes a perch atop a tree. After Bosque we will have lunch on your own at the "Famous" Owl Cafe before heading west for a look around Water Canyon (known for its owls and acorn woodpeckers). While we are in the neighborhood, we will visit the Very Large Array radio telescope facility. The Visitor Center features an award-winning film narrated by Jodie Foster, plus exhibits describing radio astronomy and the VLA telescope. A self-guided walking tour path features large, informative signs and takes you to the base of one of the giant dish antennas. Overnight at Holiday Inn Express, Socorro, New Mexico. Breakfast included.
Day 5: Saturday, November 11, 2017
At this point we have explored huge tracts of lowland rivers marshes and lakes as well as arid desert upland, so it is time for a change of pace. Returning to Albuquerque, we will stop at Sandia Mountain. Sandia Crest is widely known for its high altitude “winter finches”, and we will take the tram ride to the top to take in the amazing scenery and look for rosy-finches, pine grosbeak, red crossbill, Steller’s jay, kinglets, creeper, nuthatches and more. Three-toed woodpecker is possible here! Hotel accommodations will be Best Western Plus Montezuma Inn inLas Vegas, New Mexico. Breakfast and lunch included. Dinner on your own.
Day 6, Sunday, November 12, 2017
On our tour we will pack a variety of exciting destinations and a huge potential bird list into a colorful southwestern landscape for an experience not soon to be forgotten! Return to Denver Museum of Nature in late afternoon. Breakfast and lunch included.