A Return to Bitter Lake

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a relatively unknown wildlife refuge located on the Pecos River near Roswell, New Mexico. Because I am from Roswell, I grew up going to Bitter Lake on a regular basis. Last weekend I went to Roswell to visit with some friends, and of course I couldn’t wait to make a trip out to the refuge. Bitter Lake is a winter home to many Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and other winter migrants. I posted earlier this year about my trip to Bitter Lake in February.

I was surprised by the number of Black-necked Stilts that were at the refuge this past weekend. It appeared that there were at least 100 of them in the ponds. I had a lovely time watching and photographing them.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

There were other birds present as well, although many of them were in areas that were too far away for photographs. I am accustomed to seeing White-faced Ibis there, and I love the way that the sun highlights their plumage.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

White-faced Ibis

There were lots of Killdeer running around, and I was disappointed that I did not see any little fluffy chicks.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Killdeer

Red-winged Blackbirds sang from the marshy edges of the ponds.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Red-winged Blackbird

Western Meadowlarks sang in the grass.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Western Meadowlark

I was interested to see Turkey Vultures walking around near one of the ponds.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Turkey Vulture

And it is always a delight to see Great Egrets.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Great Egret

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a very different place in summer than it is in winter. It is a lovely place to visit any time of year.

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27 Comments

Filed under Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico bird photography, New Mexico birds

27 responses to “A Return to Bitter Lake

  1. Terrific, Linda. I like the Black-necked Stilts.Would like to see one someday.

    • Thank you Scott. They are lovely, elegant birds. They breed in summer as far north as Montana, I think, but that’s still pretty far south of where you are. You’re just going to have to plan that trip to NM!

  2. sandy

    What a variety of birds! Wonderful photos.

  3. Beautiful photos Linda! I love the Black-necked stilts ‘in flight’ pics…….those legs! Looks like a great place to visit, such a nice variety of birds :)

    • Thank you very much Lisa. I love the Black-necked Stilts. They’re such elegant birds, and those long, long legs are amazing. Bitter Lake is a lovely, uncrowded refuge.

  4. Cindy

    You are from Roswell..that explains it ;-)
    Have never seen Stilts..The RWBIF is stunning..you are so talented..Great post Linda!

    • Hi Cindy, I’m happy you enjoyed the post. My secret is out–I’m from Roswell. Worse, I was born nine months after the alien crash. ;-) Happy that you like the post and photos.!

  5. Lovely Linda!! I especially LOVE those in-flight shots!!

    • Thank you Kerri. In-flight photos are always a challenge, and the RWBB was extremely difficult because of the bird’s color. I appreciate your kind comment. :-)

  6. So pretty! Always look forward to your posts:)

    • Thank you Cynthia. It’s always fun to get photos of some different birds. I’d not had an opportunity to photograph Black-necked Stilts very often, and I had lots of fun watching and photographing them.

  7. Nice collection of Birdie photos! Do the Stilts nest there?

    • Thank you Lovely Dawn. Yes, Bitter Lake is a summer breeding ground for Black-necked Stilts. I was disappointed that I didn’t see any little fluffball stilt chicks when I was there.

  8. Great post, Linda. You just added another place that I would like to visit. I didn’t know about the Bitter Lake refuge.

    • I’ve gone there my whole life as I’m from Roswell. It’s a lovely and important refuge that straddles the Pecos River in Southeastern NM. It’s well worth a visit!

  9. Linda, that wildlife refuge looks like a lovely place to go birding. Terrific series of photographs! Love the elegant Black-necked Stilt captures, especially the in-flight shots. I think I could spend all day enjoying the wildlife at a lovely lake like that. Awesome!

    • Bitter Lake is a lovely wildlife refuge in a sparsely-populated area of New Mexico. It’s a lovely place to visit. I can easily spend a weekend there. :-)

  10. A wonderful cornucopia of birds! I love the Black-necked Stilts, they are so very elegant.

  11. Lovely views of the black-necked stilts Linda! You were blessed with many wonderful sighting at Bitter Lake :) Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  12. Wonderful grouping of NWR shots!! I love going to NWRs :-)) I especially liked your in-flight Stilt shots!

  13. Pingback: Birding Bitter Lake NWR and Roswell, New Mexico « Texas Tweeties by Bob Zeller

  14. Cindy

    Hey Linda.. Gorgeous shots of the birfdies! So much beauty in NM’

    • You’re just going to have to come back here Cindy. There’s a great deal that you didn’t see!! I’d love for you to come and stay in my birder guest quarters. Just let me know when it will work for you.

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