I finally made it to the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, along with 42,000 Snow Geese, 6,500 Cranes and 2 Eagles, but who's counting..Who was counting?
Having never been to New Mexico, the entire landscape was alien, so along with birds to be seen there was landscape literacy to be obtained.. Of course there is never enough time..and so many birds..and a plethora of interesting festival activities.. not all at the refuge & not all birding..This post focuses on birding activities..
First up was a bird-spotting cruise on Elephant Butte lake..yes, butte..stop laughing... This is a man-made reservoir used by New mexico, Northern Mexico and Texas.
|That is an Elephant's Butte in the distance.|
|Western Grebe near the dock, willing to pose.|
After the cruise, lunch and a guided riparian (river) walk along a Rio Grand tributary. Cactus Wren, Canyon Wren, Bewicks Wren, Ladder Back Woodpecker and Phainopepla were all life-birds..
|Water levels were low.|
|Prickly Pears were high in the air.|
|Life bird! Phainopepla.|
Meanwhile, back at the refuge..
|Some of the 42,000 Snow Geese.|
|A Snow Goose Blue Morph.|
If you go to this festival..do not take a bus tour.. We carefully chose one we thought would bus us to walk/watch.. Like going to the fly in..but we were only let out twice..and that is frustrating..especially for photographers..
|From the bus....|
|Allowed out on a dock for some ducks. |
Another release..for the Sandhill Cranes at a corn field..seems these birds do not just volunteer for the festival, but are lured by corn planted expressly for them..and of course they are helped to survive.
|Meet the Crane family.|
That afternoon I hopped into my car and took a whirlwind tour of the refuge on my own..Here are some highlights..
|Ha, ha yes! Just who I wanted to see!|
|An odd duck.. Blue headed Mallard.|
|The best bird was in the parking lot. Gambel's Quail.|
The bird of time has but a little way to fly, and lo, the bird is on the wing~Omar Khayyam, "The Rubaiyat"