Bosque del Apache – Avian Refuge in Southern New Mexico


Bosque del Apache is home for thousands of birds on the flood-plane of the Rio Grande in New Mexico.


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.


Birders on a cold morning are ready to capture whatever flies within range of their long telephoto lenses.


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.)


A mass movement of snow geese heading for a less harvested field.

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.


John Steiner

3 thoughts on “Bosque del Apache – Avian Refuge in Southern New Mexico

  1. This kinda sorta brought tears to my eyes. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever expected to say, “I miss NM.” But I do. I’ve been in ND for over 4 years, and I miss NM! This is just one example why. Thanks for the photos, John.

    • My sister has lived there for some time, and we always enjoy the scenery driving through on our way to AZ. I am glad we took a couple days to explore. Next week we are traveling so I’ve already scheduled a post about an Arizona park, but there is more to come from our NM trip.

      I am glad you like the post.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Off-Season | Journeys with Johnbo

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