Crest House Gift Shop and Restaurant Events
Sandia Crest, NM February 7, 2004
On this beautiful Saturday morning, over 30 members of the Central New
Mexico Audubon Society (CNMAS) assembled at the Crest House to await
the arrival of the rosy finches. Ken took the above panoramic
photo before opening time. The group waited until about 10 AM
before the first finches appeared. They wheeled about in a flock
of 30 to 40 birds, then visited the hanging feeder on the deck briefly
several times. All those that could be identified were Black
Rosy-finches with the exception of a single Gray-crowned of the coastal
(Hepburn's) subspecies. Repeatedly, the finches dive-bombed the deck
area, some resting briefly on the Douglas-firs, only to re-join the
flock and disappear downslope. Ryan Beaulieu and Raymond
VanBuskirk (R&R) gave a presentation on their banding project,
which included a demonstration of their home-made wire bird trap.
R&R discussed finch behavior (little is known about winter site
fidelity), taxonomy and anatomy (the wings of rosy-finches are
remarkably long) and Ryan provided humanoid imitations of rosy-finch
calls. (Click on
images for full screen views).
Once there was a lull in the
finch activity, Elizabeth Hurts-Waitz, President of CNMAS, summoned
Gene Romero, General Manager of Sandia Crest House and Restaurant, and
presented him with a plaque (text below) that expressed the
appreciation of birders from all over the world for the marvelous
hospitality that he and his staff have extended to
them. Attendees, who included visiting birders from Texas
and Arizona, applauded enthusiastically. The honor
recognizes the growing reputation of Sandia Crest as the most
accessible location in the world for birding enthusiasts to
simultaneously see all three North American species of rosy-finch .
In Appreciation to
Sandia Crest House Gift Shop and Restaurant
for your Hospitality to Birders and Support of the Rosy Finch Feeding Project
Central New Mexico Audubon Society
SCENES-- On the way up the Crest Road, Ken
captured this view of the 10K Trail Head, a favored location for Pine
Grosbeaks. None were there this morning, but Red Crossbills
and Red-breasted Nuthatches were active in the trees. In
the distance is a controlled burn and clear cut that is designed to
encourage the growth of aspens. The young aspens provide a
favorable habitat for the Dusky Flycatcher, which approaches the
southern limit of its breeding range in this very area. Plan to
visit in mid-May to see them!
Click on this picture for a panorama
that will scroll in your browser.
More Views in and around the
Crest House on March 7, 2004. Three feet of snow had fallen
during the previous 9 days. The west side of the Crest House had
drifts up to the eaves. While taking the shot from the rear
(south), Ken plunged into a waist-high drift and had to struggle to get
on Thumbnails for full-screen views.
We waited until 11:15 AM for the
rosy-finches to appear.
early November, 2012 the Crest House suddenly announced that the
business would be closed for the winter as of December 1st. At the
time, Gene Romero, Resident Manager, was ill and hospitalized. The
American Birding Association had already scheduled its national Birding
Rally for early February in Albuquerque.
for that winter was conducted at the feeder in the lower parking lot.
Since the rosy-finches were the centerpiece of the ABA meeting, the
banding team had to scramble in order to accomodate several groups of
attendees who had expected to view their operation in the warm comfort
of the Crest House. Despite the change in venue, the meeting was a
great success. See this account on the ABA Blog.
Read more in the ARCHIVED Rosy-Finch Observations and Banding Reports for the winter of 2012-2013
September 1, 2013
Andy Mayer of
Two Mile High LLC announced that they purchased the Sandia Crest House
about a month ago! Andy is a native to Albuquerque and outdoor
enthusiast, and is learning about all the aspects of life on the
mountain and would like to better understand the birding opportunities
and the needs of those coming to enjoy this unique location.
the purchase, Andy stated: "Our first objective was to break the
6-month closure and simply get back to business. We have been
open 2 weeks. From there, we are re-evaluating every aspect of
what goes on at the property with fresh eyes and no assumptions.
In time there are some exciting things we would like to start rolling
out. We kept on several of the previous employees and have gotten
a glimpse into life at 11,000 feet from their perspective."
Since Andy is looking for ideas about how to improve birding opportunities, I invite readers to post your suggestions in the Sandia Crest Birding FORUM and/or on the Sandia Crest Rosy-Finch Project Facebook page
The new Sandia Crest House Web page
has more information, including a menu for the restaurant. The regular
visitors will be pleased to see that Green Chile Cheeseburgers and
the famous Chile Stew are still being served.
early November, 2013, Mary Lou and I visited with Andy Mayer and
Nick Harada, the new Crest House Manager. We are certain that Crest
House Restaurant and Gift Store will continue to be birder-friendly,
and know that visitors will appreciate their hospitality.
this panoramic photo of the inside of the Crest House. It shows the
kitchen area to the left and the dining tables and deck to the right.
Windows that offer good views of the lower feeder are visible in the
This is another 180 degree panoramic view of the deck feeder overlooking the city of Albuquerque.
A Red-breasted Nuthatch occupied the deck feeder (photographed through the window):
is a view of the lower feeder which I took from the SE picture window.
Rosy-finches had not yet arrived, but the Steller's Jays were enjoying
the hull-less seed.
to say, but the first rosy-finches appeared just as we were departing
on our plane! As we ascended over the Manzano Mountains, I looked to
the north and could see Sandia Crest in the distance.