Monthly Archives: November 2015

The allure of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge


While I would not consider this photo to be an artistic masterpiece, it does convey all of the things that make Bosque del Apache such an amazing place. The colors that I witnessed there, at both sunrise and sunset, are second to none. The conditions also varied every day, making for new opportunities to capture the beautiful landscape that surrounds Bosque del Apache and San Antonio, New Mexico. The other attraction, and the primary reason that most people visit, by a wide margin, is the birds. There are large wintering populations of the gangly sandhill cranes and the beautiful snow and Ross’s geese. There are many incredible things you can see on this planet, but in my life, I cannot recall a more moving natural spectacle than thousands upon thousands of geese lifting off in unison. It truly takes one’s breath away. (text continued below next photo)


The top photo illustrates the amazing color of the sky just prior to sunrise when the geese and cranes begin to stir. A thin layer of mist arose just before the sun’s rays came over the horizon. The second image is just after the geese “blast-off” and does a very poor job of conveying how moving a sight it is to experience. Finally, the third image is of one of the sandhill cranes making its lumbering run to gain flight, reminding me of the old films of World War II propeller planes gathering speed on the deck of an aircraft carrier before gaining enough lift to get airborne.

If you are looking for a photographic destination or just an amazing place to visit, then Bosque del Apache should be on your list. You don’t even need a monster telephoto lens to get close to these majestic birds. It can be folded into a trip to White Sands, Santa Fe and Taos, and Albuquerque. For northerners, it is also a welcome respite to cold winter temperatures. Start planning!

In preparing this post, I realized I had not written about the landscape shots I took at Bosque del Apache NWR, either, so I will seek to rectify that oversight very soon.

P.S. – you will also likely see northern harriers, bald eagles, northern pintail ducks, kestrels, many species of hawks, Gambrel’s quails, roadrunners, eared grebes, northern shovelers, coots, herons and egrets, many species of sparrows, and other birds and often mammals, too.