This trip I saw bigger wildlife including javelina, a bobcat, a skunk, coyotes, elk, and mule deer. But the prime attraction is the plethora of large birds who congregate at night in the marshes, flying out during the daytime to feed in fields within and around the refuge.
I've included a gallery of photos taken on this trip. In some ways this visit was disappointing. The cranes and geese have begun their northern migration ahead of schedule and the numbers are well under half, and I think by the end of my week, way below that, of the peak season. I've always visited in mid November to early December in the past. Still, I finally found the ideal spot for the greatest concentration and have been there for evening fly-in and morning flight out.
to see images full screen, click on the first one. you can then scroll through all of them.
The geese did not seem too concerned with the coyote. It walked past and then wandered off, probably looking for easier to catch rodents.
The refuge was built as a CCC project during the Great Depression. Much of the Rio Grande River had been channeled and controlled for flood and irrigation purposes and the habitat for the
The refuge is a magnet for birders and photographers. On any given weekend during the winter season, we could make a dent in the national debt with all the photographic and spotting gear.
A few of these images have been blown up and cropped so you can see them better in this small viewing space. You can enlarge by clicking on the photos. However, the light was low and I was using a very high ISO. Between the digital zooming, post capturing the image, and the high ISO, these last two photos are particularly grainy (noisy), but I loved these last two images; back lit images of Sandhills, above and a snow goose below.
This is a special place. Lin and I first visited during our initial year on the road. We attended a "Boomerang" in Alamagordo in October and long time RVers Betty and Jim Roughton gave us a crash course in full-time RVing 101, especially the art of boondocking or dry camping. I will never forget Jim telling us that we could slow down....we were no longer on a two week vacation, but living on the road and we could take our time, relax, smell the flowers. After that boomerang, we stayed on in New Mexico, exploring this magnificent state. And we made our first trip to Bosque del Apache. We returned a couple of times, and I have been back on my own.
If you haven't experienced this place, put it on your bucket list.
Bosque is along Hwy 25 which is the old El Camino Real. This historic route was used by native Americans, then by explorers and colonizers from Mexico. Recently a new museum opened about 20 miles south of the refuge. Beautifully done, it tells the story of this route and reminds us that before Jamestown and Plymouth Rock, Europeans had explored and settled in this land. The Ornate party came with families, priests, soldiers, craftsmen, workers in 1598.