Quarai Ruins, NM

Quarai Ruins, Salinas National Monuments, New Mexico
Quarai Ruins, Salinas Missions National Monuments, New Mexico. During my trip here today with my client, we experienced this historical location under blue skies and pristine lighting conditions which concluded our photography adventure on the road in New Mexico. That said, there was one other sublime moment today when a flock of Sandhill Cranes flew high overhead, their rattling, bugling, primordial calls could be heard echoing off these ancient walls as they have done for millennium on their annual migrations. Pausing for a moment, I acknowledged some grander design that exists beyond these man made testaments to our short existence on this planet that go un-noticed by those creatures a thousand feet above.

Between Rooms, Chaco Canyon, NM

Between rooms in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico.
Between rooms in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico. The light was glowing today at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon as we wound or way through southwest history, banging our heads on the ancient beams, accompanied by the silence and intermittent gusts of wind that embellished the mystery in the homes and ceremony chambers of the Anasazi. 

“It’s mine, I killed it and now I’m going to eat it!”

Merlin. “It’s mine, I killed it and now I’m going to eat it!”  I made this image yesterday on my way home from my gallery in Arroyo Seco. I spotted the raptor on the fence post as I drove along. I pulled over, reversed about 100 feet and wound down my window. I said to myself, ‘that’s a male Merlin falcon, perhaps a juvenile’. I stopped about 20 feet away and while I was changing lenses I observed the Merlin tear at a dead bird’s chest … at least I’m pretty sure it was dead. I made about a dozen images, each, very much like this one. A few minutes later when a pickup came whipping by me, scaring the Merlin, the raptor took off clenching it’s prey. This evening I wrote to my friend Jean-Luc Catron, author of Raptors of New Mexico to confirm my ID of the bird. This is his reply … “What a beautiful photo!! You are right, it is a merlin, and because of the muted facial markings I can also say that it belongs to the subspecies richardsonii (prairie or Richardson’s merlin). It is a male because of the blue gray dorsal plumage”.   Thank you Jean-Luc.  Thank you for looking. G

Merlin, Prairie or Richardson's Merlin, Falcon