Just one short evening at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge parades such a spectacle of sights, sounds, color and controlled chaos but before we get into that, a brief note on “The Bosque”.
The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, known to locals as “The Bosque,” is 9 mi. south of Socorro, and about two and a half hours from New Mexico’s capitol city, Santa Fe. Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes and other migrating birds from all over North America come to The Bosque to spend their winter and bask in fiery sunsets, blue skies and special light. 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”.
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Arriving at 3:20 PM on December 4th we were greeted at the South Crane Pond with a murmuration Snow Geese.
A white morph juvenile in front, a Blue morph juvenile in the middle and a white morph adult can be seen in the background.
Snow Geese prefer to travel with friends and family, foraging together on their wintering grounds for roots and tubers in muddy fields and marshes.
A quick stretch before taking flight.
Javelina thrive in the Bosque, feeding on various native plants such as prickly pear, as well as roots, tubers, and other green vegetation.
Proceeding along the South Loop, one of the fields had a large group of Sandhill Cranes busy at their evening feeding ground.
Several flew directly overhead.
Mallard ducks overhead.
The evening light added a golden hue to the already gold autumn colors.
Watching Great Blue Heron hunting in the shallow water is always a pleasure. Get a little too close and off they go.
Northern Shoveler ducks are frequently seen here. Their distinctive elongated spoon shaped bill helps distinguish them from the other dabbling ducks.
One of the many ponds on the South Loop.
There are several dead trees that provide perfect perches. Here an American Kestrel keeps a watchful eye for a quick snack.
As the light fades, a group of Common Grackles settle in for the night.
From the area of the Flight Deck, Sandhill Cranes continue to feed as darkness envelops The Bosque.
….three hours later, 6 PM and the last light of the day brings color to the still water.
More information about the Bosque del Apache can be found at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/bosque_del_apache/
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