Monday, November 26, 2012

I went for the eagle, I stayed for the cranes

A few months ago I saw an eagle in the bosque in Albuquerque soaring overhead. I was thrilled, because seeing an eagle in the wild had been on my bucket list.  But I didn't get a good look, and I didn't get a good picture, so I amended my bucket list to read "photograph a bald eagle in the wild" rather than "see a bald eagle in the wild."  A week ago when I was in Bosque del Apache, I noted that two bald eagles had been sighted, however I was working with the zoo and then left immediately for Las Cruces, and missed the opportunity.

Yesterday on my way back from Las Cruces, I had the urge to go to Bosque del Apache and see if I could see one of those eagles, so I headed into the tour loop.  I was only a couple minutes into the tour when I saw him in a stand out over the water:

It's not a great photo... my little point and shoot is pretty good, but it's unequal to Bosque del Apache.  But at least you can see it actually is a bald eagle.

Now Cay and I were faced with the dilemma: Head home before dark or drive the rest of the loop and see what we could see.  I've got tons of crane pictures from previous trips.  But I couldn't resist staying and taking a few more pictures.

Once I got to the flight deck, looking out at the beautiful scenery,

we decided just to head out to the ponds north of the loop to watch the fly in.  I'm glad we did, because we got to see these little fellows running through the brush along the side of the road:

These are Gambel's Quail.  This covey was a little over a dozen birds.  Since this was a bird I hadn't seen before (although they are common) I was doubly thrilled to have made the stop at the wildlife refuge on my way home.

And of course there's the fly in...

This is where I most keenly feel the lack in my point and shoot.  But I do get some interesting pictures despite the camera's flaws by playing with the settings.

Taylor was disappointed when she found out about the side trip, so we'll be going back to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge when we pick her up for Christmas break.