Socorro County, New Mexico
One of our New Mexico stops on our way to Arizona this winter featured the winter home of thousands of migrating birds. Sandhill cranes, several varieties of geese, ducks, and over 350 other species of bird visit this 57,331 acre (232 sq. km) refuge that includes 3,800 acres (15 sq. km) of watershed on the Rio Grande flood-plane. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Roads ring the watershed, allowing visitors to view the wildlife from the comfort of their automobiles. In addition there are several hiking trails varying from less than a mile (1.6 km) to just under 10 miles (16 km). Be sure and check the website before you head out hiking as some trails may be closed, especially in the spring due to muddy conditions. Hikers need to bring plenty of water, especially in the summer months when temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees F. (37 degrees C.)
Both Canada Geese and Snow Geese spend winters in the relatively warm New Mexico climate. On the website Friends of the Bosque, here, you can find the latest estimates of the numbers of common birds at the refuge. For example, as this is being written, the latest estimate for light geese (Snow and Ross’s) is 15,490. Over 12,000 ducks were estimated to be residing there. You can find other information about the bosque at the Friends site, as well as here, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service webpage.
I submit for your approval, two galleries. The first features some of the wildlife captured in my camera the morning we visited the Bosque. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.
Lately I have been experimenting with high dynamic range (HDR) software. My second gallery includes a small number of images that were post-processed into a single-image HDR. These images feature landscape shots of the Bosque.