Bosque Blizzard

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Squabbling cranes in the blizzard

Greetings from snowy New Mexico! We are staying at a motel in Socorro that is about 20 minutes from world famous Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Bosque draws bird photographers in their thousands to see and photograph spectacular congregations of snow geese and sandhill cranes, along with other avian species plus a few mammals too. This area was hit hard by a slow moving storm out of Arizona that dumped 25 cm of snow, forcing road and school closures. Worse still was the closure of Bosque (now re-opened). The local residents don’t have the snow removal equipment and resources that we are accustomed to in Northern Ontario. As the saying goes  “necessity is the mother of invention”. We saw one person ‘blowing’ his driveway clear with an electrically powered leaf blower.

Wild weather brings many photo opportunities. This refuge and its birds have been photographed very well, over many years, a billion times.  Those of us capable of braving the weather had the opportunity to depict the birds in unusual conditions- a howling blizzard and its aftermath. Now that the Park Service plowed the loop roads the facility has re-opened. It is still quite cold by NM standards. The birds are accustomed to roosting in shallow ponds at night and these ponds are presently ice covered.

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Flight of sandhills over snowy New Mexico mountains

New Mexico landscape

Fresh snow on the Mountains near Socorro.

It’s not all about cranes. There are thousands of snow geese and ducks as well as other species of raptors and waterfowl. These coots were huddled on the fresh ice.

Bosque Birds

Cluster of coots on an icy pond