Bosque del Apache NWF
I spent a quick trip in New Mexico over winter break. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to visit in the winter since so many birds spend the cold months there. I also explored some nearby refuges including the Bernardo refuge and Valle de Oro near Albuquerque. All of these were good places for wildlife photography. Bosque features sand hill cranes and thousands of waterfowl, including snow geese and several species of ducks. I witnessed a beautiful mass take off of snow geese the morning I arrived. I also saw several thousand pintail ducks. I even spotted a javelina but it darted into the bushes as soon as I stopped. I only had a 300 mm 2.8 lens with me on the trip so I focused mainly on photographing clumps of birds rather than individual birds. Next time I’ll bring a 600mm lens with me.
Bernardo Wildlife Area
The Bernardo wildlife area contains feeding grounds for sandhill cranes. It is located just north of Bosque. Take the exit for Highway 60 and head east. Take the first left and then head north on the frontage road. Shortly, the road brings you to the access to the Bernardo. There were several hundred cranes clumped together in the fields. There are a couple of elevate viewing decks to explore while you are there.
Valle de Oro NWF
Lastly, I stopped at a brand new wildlife refuge, Valle de Oro. It is located about 5 miles south of the airport in Albuquerque. The refuge is small. It has a couple of roads through feeding fields and you can also walk a short trail along the Rio Grande. I did;t see much while I was there until four coyotes ran across the road. They quickly disappeared but I managed to snap a couple of pictures before they ran off.