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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Bosque del Apache

June 1st, 2013 · 2 Comments

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This may be the off-season for birding in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. But it didn’t matter to me because it’s still a birders paradise.

Bosque is in the desert of New Mexico about 100 miles south of Albuquerque. I first visited it in December 2011 on a photo safari to photograph the huge numbers of Greater Sandhill Cranes that gather there in the fall and winter. The cranes have now flown far to the north, and the masses of photographers have left too. This time I had the refuge almost totally to myself — along with many other species of beautiful birds.

Bosque del Apache means the woods of the Apache Indians who often camped there among the trees that grow along the Rio Grande between the Chupadera Mountains to the west and the San Pascual Mountains to the east.

The Last Light of Day on the Trees of Bosque along the Rio Grande and the San Pascual Mountains

The Last Light of Day on the Trees of Bosque along the Rio Grande and the San Pascual Mountains

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Bosque was my second stop after Great Sand Dunes National Park along my route to Southeastern Arizona. Unlike Boulder and the park, which were still cold, spring had already arrived at Bosque. The grass was green, and the cottonwoods and other trees were beginning to bloom.

One of the first birds that I saw at Bosque was one that I most wanted to see. The Greater Roadrunner is an icon of the Southwest and is New Mexico’s state bird.

A Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californicanus) Runs Across the Road

A Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californicanus) Runs Across the Road

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Another bird with a long tail that I have had trouble photographing before is the Ring-necked Pheasant. It is more colorful than the roadrunner and more widespread. It’s the state bird of South Dakota.

A Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Scampers into the Bush at My Approach

A Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Scampers into the Bush at My Approach

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The heart of the refuge is 8,000 acres of floodplain along the Rio Grande. This water attracts both migratory and non-migratory birds.

An American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Grabs an Early Breakfast

An American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Grabs an Early Breakfast

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Three White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chili) Gather for a Meeting about Water

Three White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chili) Gather for a Meeting about Water

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Out in front of the visitor center I found a flower in bloom that has a beauty irresistible to me. Not only is it the brightest red but it also contrasts vividly with the plant on which it grows.

Cactus in Flower

Cactus in Flower

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Little if anything seems softer than a flower like this. At the same time I can’t think of anything sharper than the needles of this cactus. Flowers like this bloom only for the short spring in Bosque and the desert of the American Southwest.

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Posted in: Photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Suzanne Carnes // Jul 1, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Have followed your blogs for many years now, and it is wonderful to see all of the beauty that you are experiencing in Nature, and what GOOD things you’ve done for your health! I should be out surfing, or at least get my camera out! Mahalo, Suzanne

  • 2 David Mendosa // Jul 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Dear Suzanne,

    If I lived in Hawaii (as I guess that you do), I would be photographing all the time!

    Namaste,

    David

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