It seems that no matter where you find them, tanagers are a delightful surprise. I met this beautiful western tanager in the Pecos Wilderness area of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of north central New Mexico.
I have just returned from a solo 3000-mile journey across the west and back, which I can say, surpassed all expectations.
A journey of this kind shakes you out of your complacence, defies any sort of expectations and pushes you head first into the unknown, rattling even those aspects of yourself you thought you knew well. Responsibility lies in choices, in being in the moment no matter what the conditions, in discovering what you enjoy and what you don’t (which may change with new insight) and in making sure you have a safe place to lay your head at night and enough gas in your auto tank to get to the next stop--simple requirements but not always easy.Seeing this western tanager was one of many moments I enjoyed with nature on this journey. In fact, every encounter I had with wildlife was a fun experience, a surprising dip into a fresh and unfamiliar world. The western tanager is a brilliantly colored woodland song bird whose voice I heard frequently in the early mornings when rising. The birds at this 8000 ft elevation generally sang during the first hour of daylight at five a.m. and after that the forest was often profoundly silent. Our host at Rose Mountain , Andy Gold, explained that at these arid elevations, larger territories are required for species survival and fewer individuals are found in any given area than what you might find in the Appalachians. These early morning photos were made possible because this tanager visited Rose Mountain’s garden pool for a drink.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.