Yesterday, a small group of us from a photographer club spent some time at the Bosque del Apache - it's a National Wildlife Refuge about 1 1/2 hours South of Albuquerque.
The weather was *fantastic* - especially after our month of 10° colder than normal... Adding to the pleasant atmosphere was the interest and free-sharing of information by everyone there - I was encouraged :-) to actually use my lens sunguard, birders pointed out and named various birds, and lots of advice flowed about lenses and camera settings. And of course, we saw an awful lot of beautiful scenery!
The Bosque is known for it's cranes (especially November through February)
But we also saw harrier hawks (till then, I had only had experience with the jet! ;-) ) and a few other raptors
And roadrunners (NM state bird)
And more ducks
And more cranes :-)
And cranes with mountains
Of course, there were other denizens
Even some with a sense of humor ;-)
Fantastic scenery, both far...
(See the bird floating in the sky?)
And paths full of possibilities...
From Albuquerque, take I-25 South past Socorro. Take exit 139 and go East about 1 1/2 miles to San Antonio (last stop for food and gas). Look for the Refuge sign opposite the Owl restaurant, and go South about 8 miles. There are plenty of signs all along the way.
If you have the senior's national park pass ($10 lifetime pass for those 62+) or an annual pass, entry is free - othewise, day-use is $5 per vehicle.
The visitor's center provides a lot of good current information about when and where fly-ins and -outs have been occurring, also likely sightings - so definitely a place to stop before entering the refuge grounds. They also provide a newsletter with map. If you are into birding, you can check in here for species and counts. If you are into mugs and t-shirts, head into the attached gift shop.
Some additional advice from fellow trippers:
- stop in Belen for a meal at the Rio Grande Diner, open 24 hrs
- visit Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge (closer to Albuquerque, at exit 169)
- visit the Very Large Array, 50 miles West of I-25, on hwy 60 at Socorro
- crane fly-outs are near sunrise - consider staying nearby the night before; check with the visitor's center to get their advice on where and when to watch
- fly-ins are near sunset