Bosque del Apache is a superb gathering place for birds, as well as photographers. At 57,191 acres, it provides a wide variety of habitat to birds of all needs, whether the dust traveling road runner I photographed earlier today, or the snow geese who favor the more wet areas of the refuge. These days, the birds are not being predictable, as I noted earlier. This evening, the snow geese and cranes decided to settle down in a completely different part of the refuge than they did yesterday. I don’t know if this means that they will stay there for the night and I will have to look for them there in the morning. It will probably be prudent to get to the park as early as they allow visitors and scout out the morning location. I think it makes much more sense this way. Wildlife should never be too predictable. They are wild animals after all.
Of course, all of these birds in one place brings a lot of people who are interested in observing and photographing them. Birders and photographers fill out the vast majority of the visitors here. Then there was the annoying family who not only allowed their screaming children to thrash about in the bushes near the main gathering of snow geese and cranes, but joined with their children in throwing rocks into the water. I was too baffled and in a state of disbelief to say anything, like, “Take your children to the McDonald’s playground in Socorro, please.”
But, back to this being a gathering place. Since NANPA is holding its annual conference in Albuquerque in a few days, there is probably a higher concentration of photographers in the refuge at this time of the year than usual. I am pleased to be in the field again with my friend Cathy Hart from Anchorage, along with other ASONP colleagues Jim and Robin from Anchorage. Then, as circles of friends go, joining us today as well are Cathy’s friends Eric and Donna from Louisiana, as well as professional photographer Roy Toft from California and his friend Mark, from Canada. As several of us sat having drinks and dinner at the Socorro Springs Restaurant & Brewery this evening, I felt a warmth, not just from the beer, but from the added bonus of being a nature photographer that I get to know such fine people.