Monday, December 20, 2010

Bosque del Apache...Again!!!

I returned to Bosque more as a social than a photographic destination because a few of my photographic traveling friends decided to meet there this year. Bosque is a challenging place to photograph mostly due to the lighting conditions. Most rewarding photo ops are early at dawn or sunset when the lighting levels are low and the reds overwhelm the rest of the color spectrum. Another issue, is that the prime locations for shooting mostly face the east in the morning and the west at the end of the day, so one finds himself shooting against the sun. The Sandhill Cranes that winters is what makes Bosque famous; you can visit last year's blog by going to the older posts at the end of the page.
There is something primordial about this bird that attracts me, it has remained unchanged for millions of years and its peculiar calls is reminiscent of other similar species. I have seen several species of cranes
around the world but my favorite is the black crowned crane in East Africa.

I appears that the interest in cranes is worldwide, just as in Bosque, there is another in Spain (DESDE MI CHAJURDO: "Festival de las grullas" ) that I found out from Anastacio's Fernandez blog. I happened to be in the festival in Bosque last year by cheer coincidence, there may have been at least a million dollars of long lenses lined along the marshes paralleling Route 1.

There are other migrating birds in Bosque, with the snow geese being to be most numerous. What great spectacles of nature is seeing at these
birds in unison noisely exploding into the air early in the morning to fly to feeding areas near the park. It is quick and if one is not ready, the action will be missed.

Bosque offers a refuge from hunting, but I could hear the shotgun of hunters firing at the birds from areas surrounding the park. Ironically some of the areas were hunting was taken place, are owned by the Federal of State government but were opened to hunting. At least a larger buffer area should be provided "free of hunting" to allow the birds to gain altitude and spread throughout the countryside.

There also bald eagles, harriers, smaller falcons, grebes, herons, cormorants, quails, songs birds; more than 371 species of birds have been recorded in Bosque. I was able to photograph perching on a tree above; a first one for me.

Mule deer was easily seen, although shy, they would expose themselves if you took the time. I saw a young deer next to a ditch at the end of a day, I suspected that he wanted to drink, I waited, and was rewarded. But all that flies in Bosque does not have feathers as confirmed below.

Usually the tradition at Bosque is to wake up early at dawn and run to refuge to get a choice photographing spot. After the birds depart the refuge, one cruises the park roads for a while and then go to San Antonio or Socorro for breakfast. Afterwards to the hotel to edit the images or catch some sleep. In the afternoon one returns to Bosque to photograph the birds landing at the swamps to spend the night. This year, I skipped the siestas and roamed the roads in the vicinity photographing other items of interest.