New Mexico’s Classic Winter View
I haven’t been shooting much at all lately, what with one thing and another. But we did get down to visit my folks for New Year’s, and since it was bitter cold that week, we decided to take a spin down to the Bosque del Apache and see what the arctic chill had chased in. The Bosque is always a beatiful sight, when endless strings of birds are winging past the desert mountains of the Rio Grande Rift. You watch them grow from a blur on the horizon to a string of white pearls on blue, to a flapping shimmer, then a racket of wings and calls as drop into the fields. We also saw quite a few redtails, some bald eagles, some motley groups of ducks on the few patches of liquid water, and two javelinas, the latter not unprecedented, but a very rare treat in the neighborhood. We also got to watch an amusing drama unfold in the binoculars when a sandhill crane caught some sort of rodent in the stubble. Even for so large a bird, he was a huge meal, and the crane wandered back and forth in increasing frustration, trying to find a calm spot to swallow the thing without his fellow sandhills stealing it. Suddenly, he paused and went stiff, and an instant later a redtail crashed into the binocs’ view, scattered the cranes, reversed directions and made off. The unfortunate loser went back to grazing the stubble.
I should be clear that I have no pretensions to being a bird photographer, and these are just for fun. If you want a taste of what the serious avian guys bring back from the Bosque, here are some very nice recent sets from Stephen Weaver and Kurt Bowman.