The Many Birds of Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

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Geese in flight at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells

By Bob Wells

SOCARRO, N.M. — Back in November I went over to Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Recreation area near Socorro, New Mexico for the Festival of the Cranes. It’s held every year to celebrate the arrival of the Sandhill Cranes to their winter home.

I wanted to get the chance to photograph the Cranes, but the main draw was the many photography classes they offered and while I was there I took three different classes: Photo Editing with Adobe Lightroom, Macro Photography and Astro-Photography at the VLA (Very Large Array).

I had a great time while I was there. The classes were great and I fell totally in love with bird photography. I’d bought new photo equipment just for this trip and luckily everything went perfectly. I especially enjoyed shooting birds in flight and took every chance I could to do it.

I did a post of photos I took of cranes soon after, but then we got to the holidays and then to the RTR and because of those interruptions I never did any other posts about the trip. But next month I’m flying to Florida to visit my mom and while I’m there I’m going to do more bird photography and take another class so I thought I should finish the posts on last Novembers trip before I have more to share with you. So today we’re looking at different birds of the Bosque Del Apache NWR.

The landscape isn’t all that pretty there so I didn’t take any landscape photos, but it does have a large variety of birds. The single largest population is about 32,000 Snow Geese that tend to flock together in large groups. Most of these photos are of the flocks of them both on the lake and flying together. There are also lots of ducks and a fair number of birds of prey.

I’ve always been most interested in eagles and hawks so I was a little sad that I didn’t get any better shots of them. My first attempt at photographing birds in flight was a hawk that was very close but because it was my first try I messed it up and they were all poor. I did get one shot that was okay but it had moved far away by then so it’s mediocre. One thing I’m looking forward to is getting more chances to shoot hawks and eagles in flight.

I’ve got to admit that I’m not a birder; I don’t have a life list nor do I have books to help me identify the many different species of birds. I think I’m a lot like most people and I’m fascinated by birds and love their beauty and freedom but I’m not interested in identifying them or “owning” them by keeping a list.

However, I do love capturing their beauty on a photograph because it involves my whole being: 1) My mind in the technical details of the photograph 2) my body in the chase 3) my heart in the art and joy of the birds. Who hasn’t watched birds flying through the air and not been filled with wonder and envy at their grace, beauty and total freedom?

So I hope you enjoy these photos of pretty birds–even if I have no idea what kind of birds they are.


A hawk in flight at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells


A duck in flight at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells


A duck coming in for a landing at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells


A goose coming in for a landing at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells


A hawk in a tree at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells


Geese on the lake at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells


A yellow bird in a tree at the Bosque Del Apache NWR: Bob Wells

Republished with permission from Bob Wells has been a full-time Van Dweller for 12 years and love’s it. He hopes to never live in a house again.

© 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.