Linda Barker and I drove to San Antonio, New Mexico and eight miles beyond to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. This beautiful refuge teems with sandhill cranes, snow geese, Canadian geese, bald eagles, around fifteen species of ducks during Winter months and numerous other birds and animals including bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, mule deer, wild turkey and great blue heron along with northern harriers. At least 25 species of shore birds visit this refuge every spring, including various sandpipers, ibis, stilts, plovers, phalaropes, godwits, dunlins, and curlews.
There are more than 150 species of cacti and other Chihuahuan Desert plants in the Desert Arboretum. They grow and bloom during the spring months and these prickly plants and their fruit provide shelter for nesting birds and tasty treats for javelina and quail. You will hear the calling of quail and the cooing of roadrunners. Avocets and stilts establish their nesting sites as well.
In the summer you will enjoy seeing hummingbirds and orioles at the feeders. Black-chinned hummingbirds arrive in the spring and number in the dozens during the summer. Calliope, broad-tailed and rufous hummingbirds arrive later in the summer.
The Festival of the Cranes, held during the week before Thanksgiving, offers up to 150 workshops, tours, lectures, and hikes over several days. Topics range from cultural history to natural history, photography to astronomy, and expressive arts to birdwatching. The weekend activities are geared toward kids featuring learning activities, exhibits, games and several workshops.
I noticed many photographers there with lenses on their cameras, some maybe three feet extended. One man was leaning against his truck to help him hold up this heavy lens. I'm sure he shoots some amazing pictures with his apparatus, but I managed, with my small camera, to get some decent shots.
Linda is retired from the U.S. Forest Service and she is very knowledgeable about plants and animals in the wild. I very much enjoyed her informative comments as we drove along viewing the critters in their comfortable habitat. We weren't lucky enough to see any of the land critters this trip, but I do plan to return in the future. We only had time to complete one of the loops so I'll do the other one next time.
This is a highly recognized wildlife refuge in the United States and it is well kept and easy to navigate. I highly recommend you visit this place if you are ever in the area. The visitor's center is quite lovely and they have a wonderful gift shop as well.
|These are pintail ducks and they are all feeding except one|
|A family of cranes in the middle of the photo|
|Great blue heron, a loner|
|Ducks in a row|
|Another family of cranes|
|Crane family next door|
|We are beginning to see larger numbers of cranes|
|There are thousands of sandhill cranes who winter here before returning to Canada in the spring|
|Finally, a family of deer|
|The sun is going down and the cranes are flying in for the night|
|Beautiful New Mexico sunset|
|Isn't is amazing how well they blend in with their surroundings!|
|Canadian geese (one on right looks like she is wearing a hat, but it's a leaf)|
|Notice how pink the water looks from the sunset|
|We stopped in Carizozo, NM to stretch our legs and this is Linda Barker in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse|
|Carla Kerr keeping warm|
This is all I have to say for now.