Bosque del Apache Yet Again    p 1 of 1


28 Dec 2014

What birder could fail to be charmed by Sandhill Cranes?  From their haunting call to their mating behavior,cranes are a pleasure to be around.  There are about 7000 of them wintering at Bosque this year.  The day begins by photographing their flyup from the pools west of the refuge and ends with more photos of them returning for the night.




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It was a cool 15 F at the crane flyup just after sunrise this morning.  I wonder how many photos of the daily event were taken by the dozen or more photographers using cameras that can fire at 8 frames per second?  Five thousand?  Ten thousand?

Afterwards comes a welcome cup of hot, albeit instant, coffee at the Visitor Center down the road a ways.  This is the best place to see Gambel's Quail.  Dozens scurry around and scratch in the dirt.  Gambel's-Qual.jpg (360856 bytes)
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This year's trip, however, is about ducks.  Northern Pintails are everywhere.  About half of the 15,000 ducks here are pintails.  So lots of photo ops present themselves. 


For male pintails in flight, you need to show the tail, the catchlight in the eye, and the colors of the speculum - rufous, irridescent green, and white.

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Pintail-landing.jpg (389850 bytes)  

Waterfowl can be the picture of grace in flight.  But there seems to be no truly graceful way to land in the water.  They just spread their wings and feet and hope for the best.

29 Dec 2014

In late October, 60,000 light geese (Snow and Ross's) arrived to spend the winter.  But the farmers who were supposed to grow corn for them mostly planted alfalfa instead.  Many of the geese ate all the corn and then dispersed.   Now only about 10,000 are left.  Those remaining have a high mortality rate, which has been a boon for the Bald Eagles.  One tree held 8 eagles, mostly juveniles.

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With Buffleheads, the trick is to photograph them early or late in the day.  Then, the low angle of the sun picks up their magenta and green iridescence.  

Another good spot for photography late in the day this year was the pool near the Flight Deck.  These two Snow Geese joined their comrades there, along with cranes, pintails, mallards, wigeons, shovelers, and a few coots. Two-Snow-Geese.jpg (305955 bytes)