After photographing the spring migration of sandhill cranes through Nebraska for many years, I finally had the opportunity to shoot these interesting creatures in their most notable winter habitat at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico earlier this week. I associate sandhill cranes with Nebraska so it seemed odd to encounter these familiar birds in a completely different context.
The desert mountain back drop of Bosque del Apache added a new dimension for me to the familiar sights and sounds of sandhill cranes that I have come to know after so many years. Although the number of cranes at Bosque del Apache is a small fraction of the numbers we see in Nebraska for six weeks each spring, there was no shortage of fantastic photo opportunities. The thin, dry air of the high desert environment and mountainous background makes it a fantastic place for BIF photography.
Sandhill cranes share the spotlight at Bosque del Apache with thousands of snow geese and ross’s geese. The goose “blast-off” at sunrise each morning is thrilling all by itself. However, add in one of New Mexico’s colorful sunrises and you have a fantastic combination wildlife and landscape photography that is second to none.
Here are a few shots after three days in the desert earlier this week. Thanks for looking . . .