Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge  (page 1)

Crane morning mist


Myself and two photographer friends (Tucker and Don) traveled to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in the second week of December 2011. We coincided the visit with a full moon in an effort to also capture the classic image of a flying bird silhouetted by the moon. This was my second visit to Bosque, and this time I thought I would take the time to write about the experience and provide some input to other photographers interested in visiting this location.

‘Bosque’ is a popular wintering bird location for a variety of waterfowl including the majestic Sandhill Crane. It is located on one of the western migratory fly-ways in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico about 70 miles south of Albuquerque. It is also a popular location for wildlife photographers due to the number of birds, its relatively easy access by road, numerous ponds and grazing areas, along with some majestic mountainous scenery that surrounds the preserve. The folks that maintain this preserve seem to understand the value of these attributes, what it means for the local tourist economy, and do a good job in this effort to up keep the park while balancing the needs for the various species that winter here.

I have been to other wildlife preserves that tend to have much more restrictive access rules that are not as practical from a photographer’s perspective (i.e. you can’t leave the car, limited hours for photographing in the best light). Some of these I have visited in California also seem to have a higher mix with hunters adjacent to their grounds. As a result, the bird’s behavior can be much more frantic around people, not letting you easily get within quality photography range without more stealth such as the use of a blind. I feel I need to make this rant because one of the first things you may realize on a visit to Bosque del Apache is the much more calm nature of the birds, and as a result your ability to approach and photograph them is easier.

Night landing
Sandhill Crane
night landing
Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
Eagle skrimish
Eagle skrimish
Wild Javelina

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