Greetings from San Cristobal. Happy Thanksgiving. I’ll start with a repost of these turkeys wandering in the old sunflowers at the Bosque del Apache NWR a couple of years ago. Seems appropriate for this week.
Back in the Bosque del Apache for the evening ‘fly in’. It is a great opportunity to capture silhouettes against the warm light of the setting sunset.
At home in San Cristobal is the old cottonwood tree where the ravens and magpies congregate. On this evening there is only one of each. Often times there’s a milieu and fights over branches. I like to think these two get along or perhaps the space between them is the adjudicator.
As always thanks for looking. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkeys. G
The Wild Rivers Recreation Area of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument is a gem of a place that I like to visit throughout the year. This time I visited some of my favorite lone trees. I do like a solitary tree. A lone tree for me is like finding a friendly soul where one least expects it. These three trees are all still standing and were strong enough to withstand the high winds last December that flattened hillsides of trees in other areas. The thin layer of clouds gave an illuminated glow to the landscape like a big softbox light.
This old piñon pine is hanging in there and I anticipate a few more pictures until it succumbs to the elements. Its impending demise will also, no doubt, entice me to make images for years to come.
Pretty much the same predicament for this tree as for the other two. The dead needles clinging to the limbs of this tree gave a nice warmth to the scene. The overcast lighting and water on the needles saturated the colors. I could see the reds from a distance and moved in closer to get this shot.
You guessed it… Taos Mountain from the deck in San Cristobal, and a last glimmer of light on the mountain before the sun disappeared for the night.
I found the image below in the archives while searching for the crane image to print. I’d previously published this storm cloud in black and white. It impressed me in color so here it is.
Three new fine art prints went out of the studio this week. If a print interessts you click on the picture to go the pertinent purchase page. This first image of the Sandhill Cranes against the Rocky Mountains, I titled “Pas de Deux”.
Geology in the desert around Abiquiu.
And the Lone Tree, the “Welcome Tree” at the Taos overlook.
Ok… one last image of a young Sandhill Crane at the Monte Vista NWR coming in for a landing.
As always, thank you for looking. Have a great week. G
Well, we did make it to the Monte Vista NWR in southern Colorado last week, a couple of hours drive each way from home. There were plenty of Sandhill Cranes, not as many as there will be next week and the week after. My only complaint (not really a complaint) the cranes were quite far away from the accessible areas. I got this first image as they flew overhead from one marsh to another. I thank them for that! Hearing the primordial sounds the cranes make made the trip worthwhile.
Driving north from home we ran into these two creatures having a chat along the roadside. I should clarify, the raven was doing all the yacking. The eagle had nothing to say and was unperturbed by the raven or our presence. Incidentally, this is a very large raven.
It’s difficult to pass by this location on the drive to the grocery store. I whipped past this time but decided to turn around and make yet another image, (I have a lot of pictures from this location). One thing, certainly not the only thing about photography, it gets me outdoors and into nature. As cold and windy as it was, any time I am out in the environment it is a good thing.
Below is another favorite location, the “welcome tree” greeting visitors as they crest the hill rising from the Rio Grande Gorge. The tree accompanies the massive vista of the Gorge extending as far as the eye can see, that would be Colorado. I first saw this tree when I arrived in New Mexico in 1984. The tree, sadly, is on its last legs. I keep making images when I pass and I reckon I’ll be making images until it’s gone, that’s my way of honoring its presence after all these years.
Last week this crescent moon made an appearance the day after the new moon, (no moon). It was 1-2% and difficult to spot. I found it by looking through the lens in the general direction suggested by my TPE app on the phone. The clouds gave way just enough at the right time.
As always, thank you for looking. I really appreciate all the wonderful comments and compliments. Have a great week. I’m planning on it. G
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
These birds watch and call to their family members as they fly in.
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.
The tree in the center is a popular roost for bald eagles. There’s one in the tree in this photo.
Sandhill Cranes, formation flying over the Monte Vista NWR in Colorado. Popped up here yesterday for a look-see. There are a few thousand Sandhill Cranes in the refuge. Though, after this initial bombardment, we didn’t see them much but we could hear them plenty. Thanks for looking. G
Monte Vista NWR, CO, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, NM. The Sandhill Cranes head south from the northwest corner of the San Luis Valley, Colorado into New Mexico. Following the Rio Grande, as it winds it’s way through canyons, ancient pueblos and thick cottonwood bosques (woods), they pass through the states largest city Albuquerque. Navigating this way as they have for thousands of years they arrive at the nations premier wildlife refuge. At the Bosque del Apache they settle in for the long winter. The first photo is at Monte Vista, Colorado, in the afternoon. The second photo is from early morning at the Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. Thanks for looking. G
Monte Vista NWR. Sandhill Cranes with the sun trying to break through clouds, adding a nice background drama to the evening fly in of the sandhill cranes at the wildlife refuge this week in Monte Vista, Colorado. Thanks for looking, G
Red Barn, Green Gate, Sandhill Cranes. Made another quick trip up the the National Wildlife Refuge today, where we saw so many Sandhill Cranes, thousands of Canada geese and two Snow Geese. If you have a chance this weekend to make a trip to this area you wont be disappointed. The one thing that really gets me is the call of the cranes. Thanks for continuing to look. G
Sandhill Crane, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado. I love these birds. They look like descendent’s of prehistoric dinosaurs. A pterodactyl perhaps? A nice warm day at the refuge. Thanks for looking. G