BOSQUE DEL APACHE – NEW MEXICO – photographic journal – 4 of 5


I had found a pullout right outside the park boundaries, and used this as my campground for the night. It was just a three drive minutes from south pond. As I did the flight deck the first day for sunrise, I decided to be here for when the geese land this time. This is just a temporary landing as the cranes and geese will both fly off to cornfields where they will spend their day filling up on an easy meal. The waters are still mostly frozen over as the sun hasn’t shone over the hill yet. The cranes standing in it, trying to break free of it, and attempting to get on top of it. As we all patiently wait for it to thaw, some geese and ducks land, and a pair of coyote pace on the opposite bank in hopes of finding breakfast. They didn’t get lucky while I’m there.

When I had gotten my fill, I headed towards the loops for what I hoped would be another action packed day. It’s about a ten minute drive from south pond. On my way to the main park’s gated entrance, a family of mule deer (ever so watchful) allowed me the honor of taking their portrait. I stopped at the visitor center to get the National park stamp and to talk to the staff. It was quite active with tour buses already, so I didn’t linger. I stayed parked and made lunch as the wind was howling outside. Even though it was very windy, I still managed to get a clean shot of Red tailed hawk from the window.

Upon entering the main section of park, I watched a flock of snow geese on the bank at the crossroads. I noticed one seemed to be struggling with balance and kept falling over. It was sad to watch it. It’s equilibrium seemed to be off, and it kept falling over in the mud. It is difficult for me to stand by and do nothing. Nature can be cruel, and the normal rule of photographers is too document, but not interrupt wildlife. Group by group they flew off to their daily food location, and he was left alone with the struggle. This is life or death for the bird.

Today I started with the farm loop, and followed it around to where it connects to the marsh loop. Yesterday was so productive and action packed, I don’t think I can top it. I took a walk onto a boardwalk and into the soft sand of the Chihuahuan Desert trail, but there wasn’t much wildlife activity. Just one American Coot, and a Great Blue Heron. The few other creatures disappeared to quick to capture the moment. But they did have lots of learning signs (throughout the park) so you can recognize the animals you come across.

When I was almost at the end of the full loop, I spotted the two coyotes that had recently been near the pond where the eagles were eating a crane carcass for the last few days. Though at the time, I was far too off to get a good shot. But here I was close, real close. I watched them try to capture a mouse behind the brush… lots of pouncing and comical antics. Though I’m sure it wasn’t funny to the mouse. Soon they left my view, and were gone. In this park, they ask that you not walk in areas not marked for hiking. As I would have loved to follow them, I respect the rules and continue on.

I didn’t get far when I spotted an elusive Roadrunner. He was only a few feet off the roadside edge and was moving fast. We were both going in different directions but I could see a pattern in how he was moving, so I followed him. The RV was the perfect blind, as he was not scared of it at all. He would move a few feet rapidly, and then stop to look for bugs. I would back up a few feet and stop and photograph him. We did this for over a half hour. Other photographers have said they are hard to get pictures of, so I am elated that I was given this opportunity! And grateful there was little road activity so I could continuously reverse on this one way road.

I drove the loops one last time, they don’t take too long if you don’t stop. Then I headed to south pond early to await the cranes coming in for the night. It amazes me how the changing sun can alter the entire ambiance in just a few moments.

It’s Magical

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