Mary and I were at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge about a month ago to photograph snow geese and Sandhill cranes. This was our second try here at bird photography. Whether you are a birder or just a curious outdoors person, this place is a must. Here is what you might see.
We had planned our trip well in advance and did not realize we were right in the middle of the annual Festival of the Cranes. It was a little more crowded than usual, but manageable. The Refuge is about 100 miles south of Albuquerque and is near the town Socorro.
The Refuge lies within the Rio Grande flood plane and is filled with small lakes, marshes, fields, and farmland. The main park is accessible by a twelve-mile-long figure eight loop road divided into a “Farm Loop” and “Marsh Loop”. Passenger cars can navigate the dirt road easily. There are several walking trails and viewing platforms. There is a small, but useful visitor center at the beginning of the loop road.
Mary and I were shooting with our Fujifilm X-T2s, 100-400 mm lenses with 1.4x tele-converters giving us an effective full frame focal length of up to 600-840 mm with the APS-C sensor. So, I think we had enough glass. We had a lot of Canon and Nikon 500s and 600s for company with us out on the field.
Mary and I were particularly excited because of the upgrade to the focusing system on the X-T2. Again, we are usually not wildlife photographers, so we needed to practice with the focusing system. Half the time we where elated and the other half disappointed. We have committed to practice some more close to home.
I think a day and a half – two sunsets and two sunrises – are plenty of time to experience the Bosque. If you want to see a “blast off” you will need to be here early in the morning and have a lot of patience. Mary I missed the sunrise shoots because of illness, but we had fun with sunsets and seeing the cranes land in the small lakes for the night.
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