As most of you who follow my blog or photography know, easily eighty percent of my photography takes place in Rocky Mountain National Park. While I love photographing in Rocky, just like every other photographer I enjoy getting out and spending time in the field in different and new locations when possible.
Earlier in the week, I made eight hour drive down to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, NM. The point of the trip down to Bosque was to photograph the sandhill crane migration along with large flocks of snow Geese that also congregate there this time of year.
Primarily, I would consider myself a landscape photographer. That being said, I enjoy photographing wildlife when the opportunity presents itself and find both birding and avian photograph fun as well as very challenging. Visiting Bosque del Apache would allow me to really practice my birds in flight photography and get me plenty of opportunities to photograph beautiful sandhill cranes as well as snow geese. On top of these two birds, photographing an iconic southwestern bird like a roadrunner would be nice to stumble upon.
From November through mid winter, Bosque del Apache plays host to a large groups of migrating Rocky Mountain Sandhill Cranes. These sandhill cranes spend their days in the various fields around the refuge, eating grain in the fields that the refuge manages as they head south along the Rio Grande river.
This makes Bosque del Apache one of the premier locations in the United States in which to photograph sandhill cranes as well as snow geese. Having the beautiful New Mexico desert and mountains as a backdrop for these birds is what really sets it apart from many other locations that the sandhill cranes frequent in different migration corridors.
As an opportunist when it comes to photography, Bosque del Apache was more than I could have hoped for. The avian action was great. Plenty of opportunities in the day and half I spent at the refuge to photograph sandhill cranes, snow geese and even a roadrunner. One beautiful sunset and a jaw dropping sunrise allowed for some great landscape opportunities as well.
I certainly see myself returning to Bosque del Apache in the future as well. The landscapes and action were great and frankly, its one of the best locations to photograph in mid to late November when the fall color opportunities have dried up and many locations begin to see their first good snows of the season. The trick here is to hone your birds in flight skills and keep an open mind on what subjects you will photograph. As always, the lighting should dictate your subject and Bosque del Apache will give you plenty of both.