Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wings on Wednesday

This would normally be a Wordless Wednesday post. However, several weeks ago Roberta Beyer, owner of The Fat Finch, asked me to lead a photo workshop as an event for her wonderful birding store. I happily agreed, and I wondered if anyone would attend. The event proved popular far beyond our expectations. I recruited favorite birding friend Bosque Bill to assist me, and Roberta recruited two more photographers. Our little group met at The Fat Finch early this past Saturday morning. After a basic “How to operate your camera” talk by Bosque Bill we set off to photograph birds. Everyone had a wonderful time, and most participants learned how to move their cameras off of the automatic settings.

Here are some photos of birds that I took during the workshop:

Sandhill Crane portrait, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane portrait

Sandhill Crane portrait, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane portrait, another view.

Sandhill Cranes, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Cranes fly into the Rio Grande Nature Center.

Sandhill Crane, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane, Rio Grande Nature Center

Sandhill Crane coming in for a landing.

Spotted Towhee, Rio Grande Nature Center

Spotted Towhee

Canada Goose portrait, Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Goose portrait

Canada Goose enjoying the sun, Rio Grande Nature Center

Canada Goose enjoying the sun

It was a fine workshop put on by New Mexico’s best birding store. Be sure to visit The Fat Finch when you’re in the Albuquerque area!

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Mountain Chickadee, Sandia Crest

Mountain Chickadee, Sandia Crest, New Mexico

Mountain Chickadee, Sandia Crest, New Mexico

Mountain Chickadee, Sandia Crest,

Mountain Chickadee, Sandia Crest, New Mexico


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Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Entrance sign, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

I grew up in Roswell, New Mexico. One of the places where we often went for family activities and school functions was Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located along the Pecos River just outside of Roswell. I had not visited the refuge since the 1970′s, and so I recently decided to take a trip to Roswell to visit friends and take some photos at Bitter Lake.

I arrived at the refuge on Friday afternoon in time to take advantage of the beautiful late afternoon light. The first thing that I noticed was the new (to me) Joseph R. Skeen Visitor’s Center, which was completed in August 2006. The visitor’s center is located on a bluff that overlooks the refuge, and it has large windows and a deck that are designed to take advantage of the views.

Joseph R. Skeen Visitor's Center, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Joseph R. Skeen Visitor's Center

The view from the deck is lovely!

View from the Visitor's Center deck, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

View from the Visitor's Center deck.

I drove around to familiarize myself with the surroundings. The red bluffs to the west of the refuge are really beautiful.

Snow Geese and Northern Harrier, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Snow Geese and a Northern Harrier fly over Bitter Lake.

There were hundred of Red-winged Blackbirds singing in the reeds and cattails at the edge of the lake.

Red-winged Blackbirds, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge,

Red-winged Blackbirds

Here is a short video of the birds:

As I listened to the Red-winged Blackbirds, I watched the sun setting over the lake.

Sunset over Bitter Lake

Sunset over Bitter Lake

The next morning I arrived at the refuge before sunrise to watch the fly-out. When I arrived, Snow Geese were flying over the visitor’s center.

Snow Geese, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Snow Geese fly over the visitor's center.

I watched as waves of Snow Geese flew out to graze in the surrounding fields.

Snow Geese, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Snow Geese fly out.

The Sandhill Cranes waited until a bit later to fly out.

Sandhill Cranes, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Sandhill Cranes

I was able to get a few photos as they flew overhead.

Sandhill Cranes, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Sandhill Crane fly-out

Sandhill Crane fly-out, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Sandhill Crane fly-out, a closer view.

I looked across the lake at the visitor’s center. From this angle you can really appreciate the lovely view from the large windows out over the lake.

Joseph R. Skeen Visitor's Center, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

View across the lake toward the Joseph R. Skeen Visitor's Center.

There were many Buffleheads on the lake. I enjoyed watching them “run” along the lake surface as they took to the air.

Bufflehead, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bufflehead takeoff.

A Northern Harrier hunted over a marshy area.

Northern Harrier, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Northern Harrier

The weather, which had been lovely, began to get chilly, and I went into Roswell to meet friends for lunch. The weather improved later in the afternoon, and I returned to watch the evening fly-in. I was too early for the Sandhill Cranes, but large numbers of Snow Geese began to fly in.

Snow Geese fly-in, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Snow Geese fly-in

As it grew darker, White-faced Ibis flew in as well.

White-faced Ibis, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

White-faced Ibis

This is a short video of the fly-in:

As I left Bitter Lake to have dinner with friends I stopped to watch the beautiful sunset. I have always thought that the sunsets in Roswell are extraordinary.

Sunset, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Sunset, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Although Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is not nearly as well known as Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, New Mexico, it is a lovely area, and well worth visiting.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Ferruginous Hawk, Capitan, New Mexico.

Ferruginous Hawk, Capitan, New Mexico

Ferruginous Hawk, Capitan, New Mexico

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico

Black Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico

Black Rosy-Finch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico

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Wordless Wednesday-Wings on Wednesday

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sandia Crest New Mexico

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sandia Crest New Mexico

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sandia Crest New Mexico

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sandia Crest New Mexico

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