03 Aug New Mexico wildlife refuge dazzles in November
Arctic snow geese and sandhill cranes flock to Bosque del Apache
On occasion, I time my vacations around an opportunity to experience a special event. Yosemite National Park in early May when its waterfalls are most powerful. Rocky Mountain National Park in September for the majestic elk bugling. And the Blue Ridge Parkway in October for the blazing foliage.
One of my favorite trips involved arriving at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, timed for the arrival of thousands of Arctic snow geese and sandhill cranes that migrate there to winter feed. Of course, sometimes nature doesn’t cooperate, no matter how much research you conduct. In this case, my November 4-5 arrival was perfect.
The refuge estimates that 12,000 sandhill cranes and thousands of snow geese migrate to Bosque del Apache each year after summer in the Arctic and Northern Canada. That estimate seemed low during my visit but I confess that I didn’t conduct my own precise count. The highlight was showing up before sunrise, joined by a small group of other lucky visitors, waiting to see and hear the birds take flight.
Bosque del Apache includes hiking trails, viewing platforms, boardwalks and a 12-mile auto tour route through the refuge, where there’s much more to see than just cranes and geese. I hope you enjoyed this brief photo tour of wildlife sightings during my day and a half visit to this national refuge.