Bosque del Apache Travel
Diary - p 2
31 Dec 2002
Our morning ritual now includes a visit to the
"west pools," a series of small lakes west of Highway 1 just after entering the
refuge. Hundreds of Sandhill Cranes spend the night here. Unlike the
rise-&-shine Snow Geese, who are off to the corn fields at the crack of dawn, the
Sandhills linger until mid-morning, taking to the air in small groups. The morning
light behind my back is perfect for catching one in flight.
Near the visitor center we find a Greater Roadrunner, casually checking the roadside
for insects. Every passing photographer pulls over at the sight of this bird, who at
one time has 3 large telephoto lens pointed at it. It pauses occasionally to
"sunbathe," opening its back feathers so the heat will reach its skin.
Green iridescence on its wing and tail feathers, which I have never seen before, adds to
the exotic look of this most peculiar bird.
At mid-day we adjourn to the Owl Bar & Cafe in nearby San Antonio
for green chile cheeseburgers, with of course a side of chile cheese fries. In the
dim cafe we examine images on the D60's LCD. Charlotte, the official image
librarian, transfers the best to the Digital Wallet, a device that can hold ~300
images. One of the many pleasures of digital photography is the instant feedback one
receives from viewing a shot taken only moments ago.
Afternoon drives around the two auto loops at Bosque reveal the
wonderful spectrum of bird life: Western Grebe, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck,
Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Bald Eagle, Common Snipe, both Black and Say's Phoebe,
Mountain Bluebird, Western Meadowlark. Each turn in the road reveals more birds to
study and enjoy. Many are accustomed to auto traffic, and are relatively tame
here. Our smallest falcon, the American Kestel, poses in the open, then flies out to
hover over an open expanse in search of prey.