Some of you may know that I’m a birder–not an obsessive one with a life list, but just a nature lover who’s pretty good at spotting and identifying birds. And the summer is the best time for birds in New Mexico. Visiting our front yard this morning was the bird above, a Western tanager. Last week, I saw a pair of cormorants swimming in the west drain of the Rio Grande, but unlike the one below, they didn’t have any fish in their beaks. People are surprised to learn that here in the desert we have plenty of water birds, as the Rio Grande is a major flyway. Other water birds I see in the South Valley, besides ducks and geese, are great blue herons, green herons, snowy egrets, black crowned night herons, American bitterns, and white-faced ibises.