The stunning snow-capped mountains, arid deserts, secluded rivers, prairie and grasslands all form a visually stunning backdrop to some of the most exciting winter birding that North America has to offer. This specially designed one-week ZOOTHERA tour is aimed at seeing some of New Mexico’s most exciting and special birds in a fairly relaxed manner, with the emphasis on getting good views and studying the impressive wildlife on offer. The undoubted highlight of any tour to this exciting region is a visit to Bosque del Apache NWR, where literally thousands of Snow Geese, ducks and Sandhill Cranes fill the air each morning and evening. It is estimated that there are up to 32,000 geese and 14,000 cranes present at any one time here during the winter! The sheer volume of noise and flurry of wings combined with the crisp, clear winter air should provide superb photographic opportunities and we will spend plenty of time savouring one of the natural world’s most impressive wildlife spectacles. An extensive series of lakes, ponds and marshes will be searched for such wanted species as Hooded Merganser, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Clark’s Grebe and a multitude of other waterfowl. Whilst the surounding desert and canyons are home to Scaled Quail, Greater Roadrunner, Crissal Thrasher, Mountain Bluebird, Bridled Titmouse and Phainopepla. Several impressive mountain ranges will be searched for a variety of scarce birds such as Northern Pygmy Owl, Red-naped Sapsucker, Clark's Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee and at one special site, 3 species of rosy-finch – a rather unique experience. There's a short journey to look for Bridled Titmouse and seveal lakes to explore as well. There is also a wide variety of commoner species on offer which provide a perfect introduction to the birdlife of North America, all set in superb scenery that provides a fantastic winter break. 

Monday 10th - Tuesday 18th January 2022


Here are just a few of the key species we will be targetting on this tour:

  • Western Grebe
  • Clark's Grebe
  • 1000's Snow Geese
  • Ross's Goose
  • Cackling Goose
  • Tundra Swan
  • 1000's Sandhill Cranes
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Barrow's Goldeneye
  • Scaled Quail
  • Gambel's Quail
  • Western & Clark's Grebes
  • Ferruginous Hawk    
  • Prairie Falcon
  • Northern Pygmy Owl
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Williamson's Sapsucker
  • Red-naped Sapsucker  
  • American Three-toed Woodpecker (rare)     
  • Gray Jay
  • Pinyon Jay
  • Clark's Nutcracker
  • American Dipper
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • Juniper Titmouse
  • Bridled Titmouse   
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Townsend's Solitaire
  • Crissal Thrasher
  • Phainopepla
  • Chestnut-collared Longspur    
  • Spotted Towhee
  • American Tree Sparrow 
  • Fox Sparrow      
  • Black-throated Sparrow
  • Sagebrush Sparrow
  • Pyrrhuloxia      
  • Grey-crowned Rosy-finch 
  • Black Rosy-finch
  • Brown-capped Rosy-finch
  • Pine Grosbeak
  • Cassin's Finch
  • Evening Grosbeak

Leader: Nick Bray

Ground Price: £1750.00 - Albuquerque/Albuquerque

Airfare: £600.00 - £700.00 (Approx) - UK/UK

Single supplement: £tba

Deposit: £400.00

Group size: Minimum of 4 and maximum 10.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite throughout, bottled water, transport, all reserve entrance fees, and services of English-speaking guides.

Not included: International airfare, meals apart from some breakfasts,  ESTA, insurance, most drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: We will be using good standard motels.

Tour Code: A relaxed birding break for all levels of ability and fitness. Leisurely walking, very occasionally over moderately rough terrain, is the only physical requirement on most days. We may well walk for a few kilometres through some arid canyons, but most birding will be done near the vehicles. On other days we may spend long periods of time at a lake or dam scannning through thousands of wildfowl, or soaking in the spectacle of countless geese and cranes flying in to the marshes and ponds right in front of us, or even twitching a particular rarity that has appeared in areas close to our birding circuit. As it is winter, expect warm daytime temperatures to cold/freezing conditions with the chance of some rain or even snow in the mountains. You will need to pack for winter birding! Opportunities for photography are good! Meals are not included in the tour price but are relatively inexpensive and you should budget for £20 - £30 per day depending on your requirements.

All photos copyright Zoothera Birding.

Top left: clouds of Snow Geese at Bosque del Apache.
Top right: Black Rosy-Finch at Sandia Crest
SIde photo: Phainopepla
Top row: Wood Duck, Say's Phoebe, Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes, Sage Thrasher
2nd row: Snow and Ross's Goose, Lesser Scaup, Green-tailed Towhee, Black Rosy-Finch
3rd row: Juniper Titmouse, Grey-headed Junco, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, Crissal Thrasher
4th row: Sandhill Crane, Bridled Titmouse, Elephant Butte Lake, Black Rosy-Finch