Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is a premier location for winter birding and bird photography. November and December are the best months.
Bosque is located in New Mexico about 95 mile south of Albuquerque. The small community of Socorro, 19 mile north of the Refuge, offers a good variety of hotels and restaurants.
When I visit Bosque I like to stay for about five days. In just one or two days someone less serious about great photography will see much of what Bosque has to offer, but serious photographers generally stay longer.
The Refuge has over 57,000 acres with a 12-mile graveled auto-tour route through much of it. Spotting and photography can be done from your vehicle and there are also eight viewing/photography decks along the route. Photography from the shoreline of various ponds is particularly good for the morning liftoff and evening fly-in. To experience the best of Bosque, plan to be there at sunrise and sunset. The morning liftoff is an experience that you won’t forget as thousands of Snow Geese leave their nighttime roust and fly in mass, low over your head.
Along Highway 1 which leads to the Refuge, there are several ponds which can also be excellent for photography at sunrise and sunset. With thousands of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes in the air or on the ponds, the photographic opportunities can be exceptional.
The photography you see here is obviously a visual experience. When on the scene, the calls of thousand of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese is an audible experience that is a symphony of nature you won’t forget.
Bosque is the winter home for many species of migratory birds. As many as 14,000 Sandhill Cranes and 32,000 Snow Geese stop over at Bosque on their migration. Although the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese dominant the landscape, many other species can be easily found as well.
Because I have so many photos that I want to present here, I’ve split this article into three parts.
Part 1 – Sandhill Cranes
Part 2 – Snow Geese, will follow soon.
Part 3 – Many other species, before toolong.
For more of my photographs from Bosque del Apache and other locations,please see http://dongettywildlifephotography.com/