Wednesday, March 02, 2011

2 days in Albuquerque - AM Monday 28 February

First up a big thank you to Paul Shippam for giving the advice and indeed the means to recover my pictures having had a disaster using the ZoomBrowser software. I will never again delete a memory card before having completed the processing, thank you Paul!

So, my desire to visit Bosque Del Apache - a place that has captured my imagination for the last few years since starting birding in the USA - became realised.

Monday morning we set our alarm for 4am and left the hotel at 5:30am. What few geese remained were already up in the air when we arrived a little after 6:00am, some 20 minutes before twilight. You can see how beautiful the place looks in the dawn light:

The geese may have gone but the Sandhill Cranes were still there. I filmed a large roost to pick up their distinctive calls whilst they stirred in the pre-dawn glow:

We moved on from the ponds to explore the farm loop and were delighted to see some of the Cranes had taken to the air:

More and more were flying so we headed towards what looked like a spot close to where they might pass for some more photos:

We were right:

They landed in a field on the refuge, allowing reasonable close-ups, though the fact that refuges are used for bird hunting in the USA meant they were twitchy:

So they don't tend to hang around for long:

Beautiful and graceful birds, though, and an absolute treat!

As well as the Sandhill Cranes we did encounter a number of other birds around the Bosque, including White-crowned Sparrow:

Western Meadowlarks:

You can hear them singing here, accompanied by the occasional Red-winged Blackbird:

Say's Phoebe:

An adult and juvenile Ross's Goose:

Said Red-winged Blackbirds:

Northern Harriers:

A new species, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, pecking the reeds!


Cackling Geese:

A Bobcat eating something:

And on the road out of the Bosque, another new species, American Pipit (at last!):

Bosque Del Apache is fabulous and well worth a visit. You could easily spend a week getting to know it and the birds, we sadly had a single morning. We drove back to Socorro, picked up an early lunch and headed back to Albuquerque.

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