A morning at “The Bosque” requires a very early start!
The previous evening was spent in the refuge with much success both for wildlife, waterfowl and New Mexico’s spectacular light (images can be found here). The night was spent at the Best Western Hotel, a short walk from dinner and brews at the Socorro Springs Brewing Company. A predawn departure got us to the refuge shortly after first light, and this is what we found.
The Bosque del Apache is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service whose plan “is to provide habitat and protection for migratory birds and endangered species and provide the public with a high quality wildlife and educational experience”.
(click on any image to enlarge)
Moments before sunrise at the beginning of the South Loop this Bobcat was spotted out on the prowl.
First light on a group of Pintail ducks.
This group of Sandhill Cranes were waiting for the thaw, their legs were frozen into the ice. A large flock of Snow Geese can be seen in the background, in flight, off to the day’s feeding grounds.
A small group of Mule Deer were found foraging in the brisk morning temperatures.
The morning feeding grounds for some of the Sandhill Cranes was in the corn fields specifically planted to provide nourishment these migrating birds.
Morning light on a Coopers Hawk. These swift and agile raptors are common in woodlands and can navigate through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds.
The delightful melodic morning song of the Western Meadow Lark adds to a perfect sunrise. To take a listen go here.
Canada Geese on the North Loop.
A frequently seen raptor, the Northern Harrier has a white rump patch that is obvious in flight. These raptors fly low over fields and marshes as they watch and listen for small animals.
View from the Flight Deck area.
A favorite perch for the Bald Eagles is a large dead cottonwood in the marsh.
A male Northern Shoveler taking a nap.
The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. They’re close relatives of the gangly Sandhill Crane and rails.
The male Pintail duck is easy to identify by his striking markings and long tail.
Hope you enjoyed this little peek into the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
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