by Ken Rush Photography

 

Bosque Del Apache

In central New Mexico is the premier bird watching spot in the winter.  Thousands of light geese and ducks with a number of other species as well.

Dawn in Bosque Del Apache is a magical time in the winter.  We arrived a little late in the season as the folk in the visitor center warned us that 30,000 snow geese had left for the north the week before, but the scene was still one leaving me in slack jawed wonder.  I watched the dawn flight through a 400mm lens from half a mile away.  It was like a nuclear explosion complete with the mushroom cloud.  The first indication that something was about to happen was the sound.  All of a sudden some 7000 snow geese decided it was time for breakfast and they wanted the whole world to know about that.

A monumental snowball or (snow-goose ball) erupted from the earth.  As it gained in altitude it began to spread out in all directions obscuring the view of the hills to the west. 

 

As we moved about the refuge for the rest of the morning there was the continual passage of the geese overhead.  They didn't care that we were there, they would fly just above our reach in a continual take-off and landing pattern.

 

Not as excitable and more reserved were the sandhill cranes.  They took their time in getting up to go feed and they didn't tend to take off all at once.  But, as the morning wore on they also produced quite a lot of air traffic.

 

There were ducks in every direction.  This cinnamon teal seemed intent on getting somewhere as he swam a straight line for over a hundred yards from one side of the pond to the other.

 

The diversity of birds was overwhelming.  Eagles in the trees and in the water. This kestrel watched us the whole time from a lofty perch.

 

I had never seen a pyrrhuloxia before.  I am originally from Tennessee.  There we had cardinals, and we have missed them living in Colorado for twenty some years.  This familiar form was a welcome sight.

 

It seems that everyone sees American roadrunners in the Bosque.  They are easy to find and photograph there.

 

There were many ring necked pheasants about as well

The nation's wealth is our public lands

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Copyright 2002 Ken Rush Photography
Last modified: 09/24/03