Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge is a major stopping point for birds flying south over the Great Plains and Rockies. The morning fly-out is spectacular when thousands of geese all take off at the same time. You can find some amazing video on YouTube of the dawn take off.
I’m not very enthusiastic about getting up before 4 AM to drive to the refuge in the dark to see the dawn fly-out…someday I’ll do it. This week my daughter, Jill, and I took a day trip that included a sunset stop at Bosque del Apache. The sunset fly-in is much more reserved and smaller flocks of birds fly in to the refuge and settle down for the evening. There is a huge number of Sand Hill Cranes that spend the winter at the refuge and they will fly out more casually in the morning and then trickle back a few at a time near sunset. The cranes are among the favorite birds because of their size and the frog-like croaking sound they make. In the spring I hear them flying over my house on the way back north but they are so high that you can’t actually see them going over.
Here are a few pictures. If you get a chance to visit the refuge in winter, don’t pass it up. Bring a good camera because the dawn and dusk light, coupled with the water reflections and moving birds makes some shots difficult.