Thursday, December 7, 2017

Neighbor Nancy's happy bosque bird-day

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is about 135 miles south of the ranch on I-25 and it's Neighbor Nancy's favorite birthday trip. Click on any image for a better look.

There were tens of thousands of snow geese again this year but the water was more abundant closer to the main channel of the Rio Grande.

Canada goose numbers seemed way down from previous years. The rangers said budget cuts meant fewer people to collect data on counts of each bird species. The Service was conducting a burn of mechanically masticated tamarisk.

We saw two huge flocks of Sandhill cranes and many other smaller groups of them scattered throughout the refuge. There were certainly tens of thousands. We've been hearing them flying over the ranch for at least two weeks. The Rio Grande is about ten miles from the ranch as the crane flies and there might be some water in the Galisteo Dam just a few miles away.

The mule deer had plenty of cover and fields of ear corn. Note the leaves still on the cottonwoods. Several unidentifiable trees had lost their leaves and were already budding.

This red tail and some marsh hawks were the four raptors we saw this year. There are usually bald eagles all over the refuge but not this trip. It was a glorious day and drive with a high temperature of 63 degrees!

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