Fine Art Images from the American Southwest

Tag: Bosque del Apache

Riparian Habitats, Rio Chama, Bosque del Apache

Greetings from a blustery and chilly afternoon in San Cristobal, NM

We begin in Abiquiu along the banks of the Rio Chama underneath a cottonwood tree, its branches extending over the red willows to the river itself. Cerrito Blanco (butte) just north of the village of Abiquiu makes a natural focal point framed by a large tree limb.

Rio Chama Bosque, Abiquiu
Rio Chama bosque, Abiquiu, NM

The cottonwood trees (one with a heart shape) line the banks of the river upstream and downstream for many miles. If you want to get a faceful of fall color plan to visit in late September and October. Check out my photo tour/workshop page for info on my year-round trips.

Rio Chama Bosque, Abiquiu, NM
Cottonwoods on the Rio Chama, Abiquiu, NM

Approximately four hours south is the Bosque del Apache (Woods of the Apache) NWR. This world-renowned National Wildlife Refuge is the wintering grounds for thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. Areas of the refuge are flooded to create marches which attract many more birds and waterfowl. The refuge is open year-round, but if you want to see it at its best then plan to visit between November and January.

Bosque del Apache, NM
Reflections in a marsh at the Bosque del Apache, NM

Besides the winged ones, the refuge is teeming with other wildlife. Bobcats, coyotes, elk, mountain lions, (I’ve yet to catch a glimpse of one), javelina, snakes, and this mule deer with many of its cousins!

Mule Deer Bosque del Apache, NM
Mule Deer, Bosque del Apache, NM

Below is one of numerous Great Blue Herons that frequent the area. Each bird seems almost territorial over its pond. I pretty much guarantee this bird will be here at this time, on this pond every morning, patiently waiting and watching. Patience and steadfastness are traits I like to aspire to. I think I’ve got the patience factor down.

Great Blue Heron, Bosque del Apache, NM
Great Blue Heron, morning in the Bosque del Apache, NM

Sandhill Cranes are the biggest attraction at the refuge. Here at sunset visitors wait for the fly-in when the cranes land in the marshes to settle in for the night, safe from predators. In the morning at sunrise, they lift off in small groups and take to the skies bound for the pastures and cornfields up and down the refuge and the nearby Rio Grande. It’s quite a spectacular sight. If you want to be truly amazed, be sure to catch the thousand upon thousands of snow geese lift off simultaneously at sunrise. Here’s a short video I shot a couple of years ago. Pardon the ad at the beginning. There are some more images from the Bosque del Apache here.

Sandhill cranes, Bosque del Apache
Sandhill cranes, sunset at the Bosque del Apache

These birds watch and call to their family members as they fly in.

Sandhill crane, Bosque del Apache
Sandhill crane, Bosque del Apache

Sandhill cranes, in flight, Bosque del Apache
Sandhill cranes, in-flight at the Bosque del Apache NWR, NM

Before dawn is the time I like best on one of the loop drives. While all the visitors are watching the snow geese and cranes fly out, I enjoy the rest of the refuge pretty much to myself. I’ve watched the lift-off many times. I also enjoy the refuge throughout other times of the day. When the many photographers and crowds are gone for lunch in nearby San Antonio and Socorro, again I enjoy the refuge mostly to myself. I prefer a picnic and solitude, in the presence of raptors perched high up looking for their lunch below.

Red-tailed Hawk, Bosque del Apache NWR
Red-tailed Hawk roosting, Bosque del Apache NWR

The tree in the center is a popular roost for bald eagles. There’s one in the tree in this photo.

Eagle roost tree, Bosque del Apache NWR
Eagle roosting tree, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM

As always, thank you for looking. G

Bosque Del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, NM

Bosque Del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. I waited at this road for some activity, perhaps a crane, a deer, or bobcat maybe even a mountain lion to saunter along. It wasn’t to be. Further down the irrigation channel, two wild turkeys wandered through the old sunflowers. Thanks for looking. G

Bosque Del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, NM

Bosque Del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Snow Goose, Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge

Snow Goose, Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. When the sun sets on the Bosque del Apache marshes, these beautiful birds glow like jewels. It’s that time of year and they are returning to the National Wildlife Refuge, San Antonio, New Mexico. Thanks for looking. G

Snow Goose, Bosque del Apache, NWR

Riparian Habitat, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, New Mexico

Riparian habitat, Bosque Del Apache NWR, New Mexico. Riparian habitat excites me and there’s plenty of it along the Rio Grande. This time of year the reserve awaits the return of the Sandhill Cranes. The Snow Geese will join them soon and the skies will be filled with primordial calls and the sound of wings beating, a joy to hear and see. Thanks for looking. G

Riparian Habitat, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, New Mexico

Great Blue Heron, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, NM

Great Blue Heron, at the Bosque Del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, in New Mexico. I popped into the Bosque del Apache (Woods of the Apache) earlier this week and spotted this familiar fellow, who always occupies this same spot year after year. It’s always nice to visit “the Bosque”, one of my favorites places ever. Thanks for looking. G

Great Blue Heron, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, NM

Marsh Trees, Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico

Marsh trees, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. I’m reworking some old images to occupy myself on these long winter nights. I’m having a lot of fun. I was inspired by some glass lantern slides I’ve owned since the mid seventies. Stay tuned for more in the series. Thanks for looking. G

Marsh trees, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

Soaring, Snow Geese, Bosque Del Apache

Soaring with Snow Geese in the Bosque Del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge NM. Last one from the refuge for a while. Sometimes I come across an image from the archives that intrigues me, like the two previous images of the heron. The snow geese, lit by morning sunlight, against a quintessential blue, New Mexico sky, brought me directly back to the moment when I made this image. I’ll keep returning to the Bosque del Apache in actuality and memory. Thanks for looking. G

Soaring with Snow Geese in the Bosque Del Apache, NWR.

Up Close, Personal, Great Blue Heron

Up close and personal Great Blue Heron in the Bosque del Apache, NWR, New Mexico. While we’re on the topic, I thought I would share an image of this different, more mature, Blue Heron. I have lots of images of these magnificent creatures. I’ll  share more at some point in a later posts. The light source for this bird is the sun immediately after breaking over the horizon, the best kind spotlight. Thanks for looking. G

Up Close and Personal Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron, Bosque del Apache, NWR

Great Blue Heron, in the Bosque del Apache, National Wildlfe Refuge, New Mexico. These birds have their own territories at the Bosque del Apache, so much so, that one can find them in the same spot from one year to the next. I swear I know this Great Blue Heron intimately after all my trips. Thanks for looking. G

Great Blue Heron, Bosque del Apache, NWR

Blackbirds, Bosque del Apache, NWR, NM

Blackbirds, sky-glyphs, at the Bosque del Apache, NWR NM. At the iconic National Wildlife Refuge the blackbirds write stories in the skies. Pages upon pages filled with stories. Thanks for looking. G

Blackbirds Bosque del Apache, NM