Week Two at Bosque del Apache NWR
As you can see from the above image, the snow geese have arrived in numbers this week. Nothing like it should be in a few more weeks, but two large flocks flew in during the week and joined forces once here, gathering along the South Loop Road in the evening and moving over towards the flight deck in the morning.
Meanwhile the number of ducks here is astounding! Probably thousands of Pintails, along with hundreds of Mallards and Widgeons, with smaller numbers of Teal and others.
Sandhill Crane numbers grow daily, but at this time they are gathering and feeding in refuge fields that are pretty much inaccessible for close photography.
Most of these images were taken from a pretty good distance near the Willow Deck on the North Loop. The distance forces me to add a 1.4 extender to my 600mm lens to get any kind of close image.
This week the staff made the first couple of row cuts on the North Loop farm fields, but I have yet to see any of the cranes really rushing to get out there to feed. These farm fields are right next to the road and do allow for some close shots of the feeding cranes and geese, but apparently it is going to take some more time before the birds decide they need to venture out there.
There are now several hundred cranes roosting at night along the ponds on the side of the highway, providing an opportunity for early morning takeoff shots, when, and if, the clouds don’t block out the rising sun.
So far this year, most mornings there are clouds blocking the light from the sun until after the cranes have flown off to the distant fields to forage for the day. Eventually there will be some nice chances at these ponds to catch some nice takeoff shots.
After twice encountering the lone leucistic Sandhill Crane during my first week here, I have not had any luck finding him lately, although I have heard reports of others seeing him, so he must still be around, hope to get an opportunity to get some nice shots of this rarity before I leave !
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