Geese and Cranes

The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, South of Albuquerque NM, is run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service . It is an amazing place! It serves as a stopping off or wintering point for migrating birds traveling South in the Fall or North in the Spring. It’s located just South of a funky little settlement called San Antonio, New Mexico. When we visited, there were thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese along with many varieties of other waterfowl. The best time to observe and photograph was at dawn or at dusk when the birds were taking off or gathering for the night. The cranes and geese appeared to be vying for lake territory, when one flock arrived, the other left but they seemed to get along together well.

We stayed at the ‘Birders RV Park’ just North of the Refuge where we experienced an unusual and not forecasted cold snap one night when temperature went down to 18 degrees. Our water pipes froze but thawed the next day without damage, fortunately. Cheryl decided the best way to stay warm was to crochet a blanket and lie under it while it was being made (actually for a friend’s new baby).

Colin felt ‘outgunned’ by the expensive camera equipment carried by a large group of ‘Pro’ photographers we kept on running into. However we were happy with some of the pictures we were able to take, so much so that we found it difficult to pick the best out of the 1,000 or so we took. So apologies for posting such a large number here, we hope you enjoy some of them. We laughed about the whole day we spent in Florida chasing a single pair of Sandhill Cranes contrasted with their abundance here.

Click on any thumbnail below to see larger image gallery.

The noise and quantity of birds taking off and landing were incredible. We tried to capture this in the following video.

  • Bosque del Apache

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    Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reserve, New Mexico

  • 8 Comments on “Geese and Cranes

    1. Oh… my… God!! What thrilling experience that must have been for you. I can’t imagine the pros got any better shots than you did, Colin. I loved all of them, but had some favorites… the one of the sandhill cranes, with mountains and sunrise in the background, and the one of the three cranes flying at dusk. Wow! Can you show another 1000? Cheryl, crocheting the blanket, looks SOOO happy and serene.
      From Cheryl: It was so difficult to trim down the 1000+ to the ones we felt were best . . . we kept on saying, “wow” the whole time. OMG came up a lot too. We were so happy being in that spot at that time, watching these magnificent birds in those kinds of numbers. A happy Cheryl is when I have an art project of any kind that I’m working on . . . so you were right. PS If you have the stamina when we get home to view more pictures, I know someone who would be overjoyed to share them with you.

    2. That has to be a once in a life time experience. Better have your hearing tested when you get home. How cold was it? Xoxo
      From Cheryl: You are right that it was a once in a life time . . . we were in awe and couldn’t get enough of that joyous sound. Perhaps it was a bit deafening, but it was so enjoyable too. It’s a type of Nature’s chorus that was truly magnificent. Eh?? That night that our pipes froze, it got down to 28 or 29 degrees. But we were toasty inside the van.

    3. Spectacular photos. Agree with Margery that the “pros” ain’t got nothing over Colin!
      From Cheryl: Oh you don’t know how happy that makes Colin!! He works hard at trying to get just the right shot, he’s so relentless and I’m amazed at the hours he spends at this hobby. But then he has that type of personality – whether in business or sailing, he always wants to be the best he can be. I love watching it and being his biggest cheer-leading fan.

    4. Colin – that’s one happy vagabond in your bed.
      From Cheryl: You are just too funny!!

    5. Love the pics. You look beautiful.
      From Cheryl: Thanks so much for your comments. Colin was right when he said I was crocheting and keeping warm as it grew! Our pipes froze one night, but luckily didn’t burst. We’re finally in 70 degree weather in our current location in South Bend, Texas, between a state and national park.

    6. Amazing photos! I loved the video as it makes the experience so vivid. I love the unit you had built behind your bed. Very good looking and a wonderful storage spot, I am sure. We are having some cold weather here now and have not had the van winterized as we leave on Wednesday for Amelia Island, FL to spend Christmas with my daughter, her husband, and two darling grandchildren. We have been keeping our camper plugged in during the freezing nights and drained the water system earlier, so it should be fine, and then we will be in the south for a while. The dealer said it needs to have 24 hrs of below freezing weather before we need to be concerned about getting it winterized…. We may have some wintry mix precipitation here later on Wednesday, so we are getting out just in time!
      From Cheryl: Thank you for your lovely comments about the pictures. Yes, the headboard is very convenient and has storage on the top and has a lipped shelf so things don’t fall off. Good that you didn’t have to winterize, we thought we might have to, but in the end, we didn’t need to. Lovely that you will be in FL for the holidays and see grandchildren, always such a pleasure.

    7. Truly fabulous photography. I’ve gone through a few of your blogs tonight as I stumbled across a link on the Roadtrek FB page. We’re headed for Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas soon. Thanks for descriptions and photos from Big Bend and other Texas destinations. I’m also a blogger, and have posted a few on Death Valley. Not sure I got any photos as good as the best of yours. Keep it up! I’ve subscribed via email.

      • From Colin and Cheryl: Thank you for nice comments. Your blog is wonderful, too. We particularly like the Oregon Coast pictures, we were plagued with sea mist the two times we traveled this part of the coast on our current tour. And of course the Galapagos Islands. You have had many travel adventures. Love your little dig about the seven deadly sins. We’ve signed up.

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