Sometimes you just need a quick getaway from town, a breath of fresh air, a place to stretch your legs without too many people around, and maybe a spot just to sit and be quiet for awhile. We have the perfect destination for you: The Randall Davey Audubon Center, just a couple of miles from the Inn on the Alameda, with good parking at either the Center itself, or just off Upper Canyon Road, at the Santa Fe River Canyon Nature Preserve. Both are free.
It’s a lovely place to have a short hike:
There are a variety of paths in the Nature Preserve south of the Center, with interpretive signs here and there:
The “serious” birders are quick to post their sightings:
A friend and I love to stop by the River Preserve to see what the beavers have been up to. Lately they’ve been rearranging their dams – here’s the newest one:
“Busy as a beaver” doesn’t begin to describe these creatures. It’s amazing what they can accomplish:
There are already plenty of birds to see, even ‘tho it’s still February, and more are no doubt on the way. The robins are back – that’s always encouraging – and we also spotted mallards on the beaver ponds, scrub jays, white-breasted nutchatches, pine siskins, juncos, two kinds of towhees, and a pair of red-tailed hawks circling overhead, keeping everyone in line. The usual menagerie of reptiles is absent, since it’s still winter, so for those of you averse to slithery things, this is a great time for a walk.
From the Inn on the Alameda, turn east on Alameda Street (toward the mountains) and follow it along the tree-lined Santa Fe River until it makes a sharp right turn. At the stop sign at the intersection with Upper Canyon Road, turn left and enjoy a slow drive through a very picturesque section of Old Santa Fe until the road makes an abrupt left turn. Here you have a couple of choices: you can turn left here and then immediately right into the parking area for the Nature Conservancy’s Santa Fe River Preserve, or you can continue straight ahead, along a dirt road, about half a mile to the paved parking area at the Randall Davey Audubon Center itself. There’s a great nature store here, and it’s the meeting place for the Saturday morning bird walks. Check their website for the calendar of events.