Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge


Last December Harland and I did a whirlwind tour of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. One of our stops was Bosque Del Apache.  Located in the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, it is a 57,000+ acre wildlife refuge containing migratory populations of sandhill cranes, ducks, geese, and bald eagles.  Year-round residents include mule deer, coyote, porcupine, muskrat, turkey, quail, pheasant, and roadrunner. Harland has been there several times and spoken in reverent tones about the huge numbers of birds, the sandhill cranes, and the amazing light.  For me, this was a first trip, and while I was impressed with the birds, especially the sandhill cranes with their raucous calls, what blew me away was the light.

The air was crystal clear, and the colors of the grasses, water, and sky were vibrant. I’ve never seen light like there was there. Whether it’s the elevation, the humidity, the color of the soil, or all of the above- I don’t know. But it was hard to take a bad picture with that light.

Also, seeing the sandhill cranes was special for us too. These photographers, who had been there since before sunrise, were lined up along a marshy pool waiting for the cranes to fly off out into the fields to feed for the day.

The cranes took off in small groups and flew over us, and we all clicked away like mad.

Every evening, the cranes return to the marshy pools to roost for the night.

I’d love to return to Bosque Del Apache some day. What a special place.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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28 Responses

  1. Granny J says:

    That’s right in my neck of the woods! The colors of NM,and AZ…WOW! Come on back anytime!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Granny,
      We also went to the Grand Canyon, Arches Natl Park, and Dead Horse Point. Beautiful country and so awe inspiring.

  2. Aletha says:

    wow I will never get ou tthat way but it was like I was there thanks for the share of the photos

  3. Glyndalyn says:

    Great photos. Also enjoyed the fair.

  4. Pam says:

    Have you been to south central Nebraska in March when we have half a million sandhill cranes (and a few whooping cranes) flying through? Not that far from home for you, and it’s an awesome sight!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Pam,
      I haven’t, but maybe Harland has. I drooled on my keyboard when I read the words, ” half a million sandhill cranes”. And I’ve never seen a whooping crane. Would love that.

  5. Chester's Mom says:

    Your blog is my escape every night, thank you.

  6. Julie says:

    Thank you for sharing this place with us. Who knew? The pictures are just lovely!

  7. Doe of Mi. says:

    Wonderful. Beautiful. Our words aren’t enough to describe it
    are they? And your photos of the sandhills confirmed what I
    saw Sunday here in Michigan. Yup, one big flock and several in the fields as we traveled. So neat to see.

  8. CheyAnne says:

    Oh you lucky girl. I’ve wanted to go down there for over twenty years now and I live just north of there. These are wonderful photographs. the light is amazing isn’t it? That’s why they call it ‘The Land of Enchantment’. The light draws artists of all kinds all the time…
    peace n abundance,

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi CheyAnne,
      You must get down there. So worth a visit. We’d love to get back there. Definitely the land of enchantment.

  9. GinMT says:

    Thanks for the photos of the cranes! It has been years since I saw these in the Beaverhead Forest area south of Ennis here in Montana. I love that rachety sound they make, and they are spectacular in flight!

    Hope you are enjoying fall!


  10. Rochelle says:

    I so enjoy your posts and photos. The tulips were lovely, as were the photos of the shore

  11. Pam says:

    You must plan to come to Nebraska anywhere from the end of February to early April next year! The Sandhill cranes stop for a month or so on their migration north for the summer. They feed and fatten up for the long flight north. They can be seen by the thousands at any point near the Platte River (along I-80) from west of Kearney to Grand Island, NE during this time. The best time is at sunrise, when they leave the river to fly out to the nearby corn fields to feed for the day. Or at sunset when they return to the river for the night, where they land in the shallow water to stay for the night, protected from land predators. There are several agencies who give tours at these times of day, just be sure to sign up early because thousands and thousands of nature lovers and professionals come to our area for the big spectacle each year! You can also view large flocks in the fields during the day, feeding on leftover corn and bugs, and the first two agencies listed below have trails and viewing areas throughout the day, as well as tours and blinds to sit in. Check out the following websites for information. Don’t miss the excitement! (Formerly known as Crane Meadows)

  12. You’re right! The light and the coloring in these photos is incredible…I know though, that being there in person it’s even way better! I just love this earth! Beauty is not even a good enough word to describe it. You know what I mean? I know you do. When I get to experience places like this, I am so thankful to God for his wonderful creation! What an honor to be able to experience it.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      I’ve always felt close to God when I’m experiencing the wonders of nature. And so privileged to see sights like the one there.

  13. Elaine Snively says:

    Great Photos. Love Bosque del Apache. Have been there twice. Wonderful birding spot.
    Thanks for posting it.

  14. Joani says:

    I used 2 live near there & took drives along the river 2 C the cranes which were beautiful as well as the colors. Photos R awesome.

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