December 31, 2008

Our Travels in 2007 & 2008

Just to give you a better idea of where we've been so far, here's a map showing our travels in red for 2007 and green for 2008....

December 2, 2008

Bosque Del Apache

Bosque del Apache is Spanish for "woods of the Apache," and is rooted in the time when the Spanish observed Apaches routinely camped in the riverside forest. Since then the name has come to mean one of the most spectacular wildlife in North America. Here, tens of thousands of birds--including sandhill cranes, snow geese, and many kinds of ducks--gather each autumn and stay through the winter. At dusk, Kim and I witnessed flight after flight of geese and cranes return to roost in the shallow marsh lakes that line the entry road.

This is THE hotspot for birding and wildlife photographers this time of year, and this evening was no exception. The largest organized group was led by Larry Ditto from Texas. Larry offers many trips per year, at an affordable price. No question about it, his group was armed with the proper "shooting gear", almost everyone sporting a pro-series camera body, and a 500-plus mm lens! htttp://

Although not as well equipped, here are a few of the better images Kim and I were able to capture with our conventional point & shoot rigs.
Most prevalent for this time of year were the snow geese which domintaed the lakes early afternoon. Although by carefully glassing through the masses, we were able to see an occaisional Ross. When seen side by side, their smaller size and unique beak make them easy to spot.
Late afternoon meant movement for the birds, as we watched pair after pair of these beautiful geese take to the air, headed for other locations in the marsh.
As they left, small groups of Sandhill Cranes began to appear in the distance, headed over to replace the Snows as they left.

We have now seen the Sandhill all over the country, as far south as Mississippi. But, it's always a treat to watch these tall creatures. In the numbers here, wow, what a spectacle!
As the sun sunk slowly behind the mountains to the west, wisps of stunning color lit the sky before us...

It wasn't long before a fabulous sunset presented the perfect backdrop for the final images of the day!

With the last red glow of the setting sun almost gone, the view of the winged flight above was replaced by the close proximity of the Moon, Venus & Jupiter.

The following morning we talked with several volunteers at the visitor's center, and decided that some day we will come back and volunteer for a season. This is truly an awesome place for wildlife & nature lovers!