Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge

A "bosque" is what they call a forest along a floodplain in the Southwestern USA. (It comes from the Spanish word for "woodland") In this case along the Rio Grande. However, like the migratory wetlands we visited near Klamath Falls, the flooding here is no longer at the whim of nature. The flow of water is controlled by humans these days.

I have a habit of starring locations in Google Maps, either places I've visited and want to remember or places I've seen mentioned and might want to visit in the future. Looking at our route beyond Gallup, NM at first I was looking at the route through the mountains to Silver City. But highway conditions didn't look good. The next option was to head further east to the I25, where I noticed I had a star on the map. It turned out to be Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. I've seen lots of bird photographs from here so I thought it would be worth a quick visit. We ended up spending a few hours driving around the main loop and walking a few of the shorter trails. I don't think it's the peak season, but there were still lots of snow geese, sandhill cranes, various ducks, and a few bald eagles and hawks.

One of the first birds we saw was this Hooded Merganser. Love that head.

Hooded Merganser

We also saw some Buffleheads, which look similar from a distance, but quite different close up.


One of the advantages of a road trip is that I can bring more photography gear so I broke out the long lens (Sigma 150-600 Contemporary). I had a tripod with me but I ended up using a monopod (and Really Right Stuff monopod head) since it was easier to carry and get in and out of the car. I could even use the monopod inside the car when I was shooting out the window.

There were lots of Snow geese in the fields, mixed in with Sandhill cranes.

Snow geese

I wonder if these two realized they were synchronized?

Sandhill cranes

I love the splash of red on their foreheads (and their odd croaking call)

Sandhill crane

We also saw a number of hawks and bald eagles, although I didn't get very good photos of them.

Bald eagles


See all 16 photos as a slideshow or overview

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