A couple of weekends ago Bosque Bill and I decided to visit Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Bill is very enthusiastic about dragonflies, and there are many of them at Bosque del Apache in summer. I am always up for a road trip. It had been several years since I had visited there in summer, and I was looking forward to seeing the refuge. I knew it would be hot, and so I packed lots of cold drinks along with a cold picnic lunch.
We arrived at the refuge at mid-morning. As usual, the view across the refuge toward the hills was lovely.
Looking across the refuge toward the hills.
It was interesting to see that in summer, the areas which in fall and winter are ponds for migrating birds are covered with plants that will become food for ducks, geese and cranes when the ponding areas are flooded in fall.
In fall this area will be flooded and will become a pond for migrating waterfowl.
With temperatures hovering near 100ºF there was not a great deal of bird activity, but we did see a few birds:
A Great Blue Heron hunts in an acequia
A Black Phoebe hunts for insects at a pond on the Marsh Loop.
An unruly gang of Neotropic Cormorants were roosting on snags along the Seasonal road.
We saw Blue Grosbeaks and Northern Mockingbirds and a few raptors. Either they were too far away for photos, or I was not quick enough with my camera. What we did see were dragonflies. They were beautiful!
Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)
Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)
By early afternoon Bosque Bill and I were hot and tired, and we took a break to eat our picnic lunch and tour the Visitor’s Center. After a lovely lunch we walked around the Visitor’s Center. Bosque Bill flushed a large covey of Gambel’s Quail sheltering from the midday sun under a Three-Leaf Sumac. I don’t know who was more startled, Bill or the quail. I was laughing so hard that I didn’t get a photo.
I sat in the (blessedly) air-conditioned Visitor’s Center and enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders. Black-chinned Hummingbirds and Rufous Hummingbirds were very busy defending the food source. I took some photos through the viewing window.
A male Rufous Hummingbird vigilantly guards the feeder.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds share the feeder with the Rufous Hummingbird.
Another look at the hummingbirds around the feeder.
There were Bullock’s and Scott’s Orioles at the feeders as well.
The hummingbirds fled when a Scott's Oriole landed on the feeder.
This Scott's Oriole likes hummingbird nectar.
A Bullock's Oriole watches from a nearby tree …
… and announces his arrival at the feeder.
Very few people visit Bosque del Apache in summer. It is hot, and it lacks the large numbers of migratory waterfowl that are present in the other seasons. There is still a great deal to see.