Bosque del Apache NWR
Next day was the much anticipated visit to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reserve. I have so many bird shots to sort through I’ll likely do this in sections. This first visit was too close to noon with fewer birds out than the next visit a few days later. We made sure to arrive much earlier in the morning for that second day. It rewarded us very nicely, but for now… I’ll start with the stop at the Visitor Center.
We were greeted by my very first encounter with a road-runner. I was beside myself.
Followed by a lovely desert garden with this Claret Cup cactus in bloom. I’m not sure what the white buds are, but the branch is from a blooming mesquite. (as usual, click on an image for a slideshow)
Eric was pretty happy to spot this White-faced Ibis off in the distance, but it was a bit of a reach for my lens and the lighting wasn’t terrific, but still… there it is. It definitely counts as a sighting.
Next there were these two Shovelers. I liked the sequence where they’re both showing off their shoveling bills. Then she ducks her head and finally he has to see what she’s doing and he sticks his head under water too. I thought his crossed tail feathers look like horns. It’s pretty easy to see why they’re called Shovelers.
This was the only Snow Goose pair we saw. These same two were hanging around together with the rest of the bunch apparently on their way north already. Later we noticed that the wing feathers on one appeared to be damaged. Perhaps the mate was hanging around to watch over the wounded one. That last shot seems to indicate that they’re quite well fed.
This Gadwall doesn’t look all that impressive from a distance (or the thumbnail image), but the feather pattern on the chest is pretty intricate. Eric thinks the last shot of the butt looks like an angry pug (dog). I’d have to agree it’s pretty funny.
Eric spotted this Night Heron, but this bird didn’t stick around long enough for me to fiddle with settings. Still counting this one as a thrill nevertheless.
A pair of Ruddy Ducks preening…check out the wild turquoise colored beak on the male (on the left).
A better look at that amazing beak. It indicates that spring is in the air and he’s courting that female while trying to look casual.
This takes me about halfway through the first visit to the Refuge. There are still too many shots left to sort through for now. More to come….
A man could be a lover and defender of the wilderness without ever in his lifetime leaving the boundaries of asphalt, powerlines, and right-angled surfaces. We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to set foot in it. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.
― Edward Abbey,