An Evening at the Bosque del Apache NWR

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”.

(click on image to enlarge)

Snow Geese at the entrance.Arriving at 3:20 PM on December 4th we were greeted at the South Crane Pond with a murmuration Snow Geese.

Snow Geese on the water.A  white morph juvenile in front, a Blue morph juvenile in the middle and a white morph adult can be seen in the background.

Huge numbers of waterfowl on the water.Snow Geese prefer to travel with friends and family, foraging together on their wintering grounds for roots and tubers in muddy fields and marshes.

Single Snow Goose in the morning.A quick stretch before taking flight.

The Javelina of the Bosque del Apache.Javelina thrive in the Bosque, feeding on various native plants such as prickly pear, as well as roots, tubers, and other green vegetation.

Sandhill Cranes at their evening feeding grounds.Proceeding along the South Loop, one of the fields had a large group of Sandhill Cranes busy at their evening feeding ground.

Sandhill Crane flying overhead.Several flew directly overhead.

Mallard ducks high in New Mexico's skies.Mallard ducks overhead.

Cottonwood trees in the eveing light.The evening light added a golden hue to the already gold autumn colors.

Time to find a new spot for this Great Blue Heron.Watching Great Blue Heron hunting in the shallow water is always a pleasure. Get a little too close and off they go.

Northern Shoveler floats on the evening water of the Bosque del Apache.Northern Shoveler ducks are frequently seen here. Their distinctive elongated spoon shaped bill helps distinguish them from the other dabbling ducks.

Evening light at the Bosque del Apache.One  of the many ponds on the South Loop.

Kestrel perched on a large tree.There are several dead trees that provide perfect perches. Here an American Kestrel keeps a watchful eye for a quick snack.

Flock of Grackles on a high perch over water.As the light fades, a group of Common Grackles settle in for the night.

Sandhill Cranes ot sunset on the Bosque del Apache NWR.From the area of the Flight Deck, Sandhill Cranes continue to feed as darkness envelops The Bosque.

Sandhill Cranes at last light on the Bosque del Apache.….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

For more New Mexico images visit my website here.

About Britt Runyon

A New Mexico based free roaming outdoor digital photographer, always on the qui vive for what Nature and humans provide.
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