Bosque Del Apache, NM

That would be the “National Wildlife Refuge”

Entrance

The 57,331 acres Refuge established in 1939 is located in Southern New Mexico and administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We caught the tail end of the migration of the Sandhill Cranes yet the best time being in the fall around Thanksgiving. The Reserve is open year-round providing safe harbor for its varied wildlife including present for us a few days ago thousands of Snow and Ross’s geese.

 

Map

Every season has its highlights. In Winter times as right now, besides the cranes and geese there are intense endless flocks of ducks. Everyone during the daylight hours feeds on the corn fields situated North of the Refuge and on waves return to their nightly roost on the water ponds, referred as “fly-in”. In the morning at Sunrise it is then the other way around while they all take off in waves. Quite a show with their thundering sound of wing beats and calls almost deafening.

 

Daytime feeding in the corn fields.
A couple Wild Turkeys fighting? Loving?

The Visitor Center is very helpful, very pleasant with also a Nature Store and maps of the Refuge and the two loops [North and South] one can [and should!] drive. A reminder that on the East side of HIghway 1 where the main refuge is, dogs are not allowed outside the vehicles. They are allowed anywhere on the West side of the Highway. Highway which is just a two lane paved roads. There is no camping in the refuge but there is a large viewing area on the West side before the entrance sign [above] and dry camping is possible. Coming from the East on Highway 380, there is also much BLM land off the Highway North and Southbound. If you use a Benchmark map [one per State] you will find the very detailed informations.

 

Loop road

The North and South loop roads are not paved but very doable with any car as very well maintained.

 

Observation Deck

The wetlands that held thousands of ducks, geese and cranes in the winter are slowly drawn down in the spring, creating expansive mudflats and shallow areas for migrating shorebirds. At least 25 species of shorebirds visit the refuge each spring, including various sandpipers, ibis, stilts, plovers, phalarops, godwits, dunlins and curlews.

 

Quite a show…
It was 15 degrees that morning…
As the Sun rises finally…
And more coming and going!

Desert blooms are celebrated in the Spring. There will be more than 150 species of cacti and other Chihuahuan Desert plants. Although unfriendly to fingers, these prickly plants and their fruit provide shelter for nesting birdsband tasty treats for javelinas and quail.

 

Sunrise
Incredible sights
A lone tree waiting…
More and more…
And they finally took off for the corn fields.

 

A must to visit!

Stay well, Ara and Spirit

 

 

11 thoughts on “Bosque Del Apache, NM”

  1. The sounds of the Sandhill cranes passing over signal the changing of the seasons for us, if they are heading south earlier than normal it tells us to get ready for a cold winter, north earlier is a better recommendation than some rodent not seeing his shadow as to an early spring.

  2. Ara, you say, “The Reserve is open year-round providing safe harbor for its varied wildlife..” but hunting is allowed at the wildlife refuge.

    1. I had no idea. I hope it is a good reason and certain species? I am going to research that a bit further to get some more details. Tell you the truth it is a bit disturbing! Thanks for the follow up….

  3. Your description is exactly what I have 6 miles south of me at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, except we have rice fields instead of corn. Or refuge has 2 person blinds specially built for photographers that are available on a lottery system. I was surprised to learn there are that many water fowl in New Mexico.

    1. It is a stop over for them because of the water surfaces available for them to spend the nights protected as such from the predators. There will be millions of them around November when they go the other way. Will be there!!! When are you dropping South? Any firm date yet?

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