A Summer Visit to Bosque del Apache

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, Bosque del Apache NWR.

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.

Pond area, Bosque del Apache NWR

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:

Great Blue Heron

A Great Blue Heron hunts in an acequia

Black Phoebe

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.

Neotropic Cormorants

Neotropic Cormorants

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)

Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Blue Darter

Blue Darter

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.

Male Rufous Hummingbird

A male Rufous Hummingbird vigilantly guards the feeder.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds share the feeder with the Rufous Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbird.

Another look at the hummingbirds around the feeder.

There were Bullock’s and Scott’s Orioles at the feeders as well.

Scott's Oriole

The hummingbirds fled when a Scott's Oriole landed on the feeder.

Scott's Oriole

This Scott's Oriole likes hummingbird nectar.

Bullock's Oriole

A Bullock's Oriole watches from a nearby tree …

Bullock's Oriole

… 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.


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Filed under Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Dragonflies, New Mexico birds, New Mexico scenery

12 responses to “A Summer Visit to Bosque del Apache

  1. All great photos, Linda. My wife and I can’t wait to make another trip to the Bosque. Sometime this fall, I hope. I forgot where you live. Isn’t it pretty close? It sounds like you and Bill had a super time. That’s like the kind of trips Ann and I like to do.


    • Yes, you definitely must go back. I live in Corrales, just NW of Albuquerque. It’s about a 90 minute drive. Be sure to call me when you go. If our schedules coincide I’ll meet you down there. 🙂

  2. Linda, thanks for taking us along on your summer adventure to Bosque del Apache. A most beautiful series of photographs! Stunning scenic images and wonderful shots of the gathering of hummingbirds and oriole. The orioles on our property are quite fond of the hummingbird nectar too. Always a pleasure to view your blog. Stay cool!

  3. Wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration. Sometimes ya just gotta go, hot or not! 🙂

  4. Great shots~~Glad you got out even though it was so hot….Wow..all those hummers on one feeder…never like that here in the east. I miss AZ and all the hummers.

  5. Wonderful post LInda, next time out my wife and i have to go here. (and we will call you 🙂 )


  6. What a wonderful blog Linda, fabulous photographs as always and such fun to read about your adventures… thanks for sharing so beautifully as you always do.

  7. Thanks Julie, Michelle and Barbara. I appreciate your kind comments. Yes, it was HOT, but it was a fun trip. Happy I went.

  8. Great post. Especially like your dragon pics. Seems like a great place for odonata.

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