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!


LiveWorkDream said...

We drove right past that place when we were working in TorC, and didn't stop. Wish we would've, those birds are amazing.

Although if we had stopped and seen all those birders, I might've been overcome with lens envy. Wow, some cameras those folks have!

Erin said...

Bosque is an amazing place - we had to tear ourselves away! Just a quick note about Sandhills - if you are traveling through southern Arizona in the next few months the Wilcox Playa you should spend some time at Whitewater Draw. Last year there were over 36,000 Sandhills there plus a multitude of other birds.

Maybe we'll see you out there! Happy trails!

Kathy said...

Hi Kim and Sam,
We must have passed each other up in Alaska this summer!!! Loved your Bosque del Apache pics, we were there at the end of October, just as the cranes were beginning to come in! We were coming from Texas and they flew over us in the hundreds while we were in Palo Duro Canyon!
Froggy Donna posted your link!

We are Kathy and Grant
Our adventure started 12/26/07 when hit the road as full time rvers in our Montana Fifth Wheel, leaving San Jose, CA.

Don't you just love the freedom this life style gives you?! We have seen so much this year, we are so thankful. Our southern most point was El Paso, Texas last March and 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, this July. (We'd already crossed the circle in 2002, we just needed to restock up on the sweatshirts at the Arctic Trading Post, that say "we crossed the Arctic Circle".
I will have to bookmark your blog!
Happy Holidays in Louisiana!
Kathy and Grant Webb