Geese panic…

Snow Geese “panic” several times a day at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Panic is the word I use to describe the times when a contagion of agitation sweeps the flock and they all come up into the air at the same time…calling and swirling. Generally half of them think they ought to move west and half east, or half think they should circle clockwise and half counterclockwise, and the mixing and mingling segments of the flock is mesmerizing. To be there when the Snow Geese panic is reason enough for a visit to the Bosque…and, in fact, brings folks back year after year. It was gettin on toward sunset when my Point and Shoot Nature Photography workshop got to see this panic up close. Nothing like it! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My Birds in Flight modifications of Programed Auto mode. 1/1000th @ f6.3 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.

Cranes with sunset in their wings…

Some sunsets at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro New Mexico, with the Sandhill Cranes coming in to roost in shallow water for the night, the light is just unspeakably beautiful. This crane was coming in toward the setting sun, and what it does to the wings is amazing. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom Birds in Flight adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr. 

Beep beep!

I always hope to see at least one Roadrunner while at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico during the Festival of the Cranes. Or rather, I am confident of seeing more than one, but I hope to see one close enough for photos. That is different. I had seen at least 4 before this one. In fact I saw one only a few hundred yards down the road, but it scuttled off into the brush as they do before I could get a photo. That put me on alert. Where there is one Roadrunner, there might be more. I slowed down a to a crawl, and sure enough, I spotted one on the edge of the road ahead. I pulled up as close as I dared and put the camera out the window and over the rear-view mirror and shot off a few frames just in case, and then I started inching forward to see if I could get up beside the bird. I got just about parallel before it turned and headed back toward the brush, but I got some over the shoulder looks when it stopped short of actual cover. Then it turned for the road again and ran up ahead of me to the edge. I was able to roll forward almost parallel again and got a few shots in full profile. The bird was on alert, with its crest raised, and provided a very satisfying image. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

Well hello there Crane!

One of the reasons to visit the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico is how close you can get to the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. This Sandhill was coming directly overhead, so close that I could not fit more than this in the frame at 600mm equivalent. That is close indeed. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom Birds in Flight adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

Dancing Cranes…

It has been one of the most spectacular weeks in memory at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and the Festival of the Cranes in Socorro, New Mexico. The birds are in and close, the light has been simply wonderful (even by NM standards, which is saying a lot), and there is a lot of action in the flocks. This “dance” is part of the year long mating ritual, and it is a behavior you will see if you spend any time watching cranes. Sony RX10iv in my customized Birds in Flight adaptation of Program Mode. Processed in Polarr.

Away!

Sandhill Cranes taking off in the early light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro New Mexico. This has been the best year in the past 10 years for birds and weather at Bosque. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

With sunrise in their wings…

The dawn flyout at Bosque del Apache is one of the great wildlife spectacles of North America and this morning was one of those days that make it memorable. I was out with a field workshop of aspiring Point and Shoot Nature Photographers at the Flight Deck Pond just at sunrise this morning when the Snow Geese rose to go to their day feeding fields. Wonderful light. Amazing action. Shot with the Sony RX10iv in my specialized Birds in Flight mode adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

Common Paraque, 2018 version :)

This Common Paraque has roosted beside one of the trails at Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center for so many years in a row that has to be the most photographed bird in Texas. There are always two along this short stretch of trail, but most years we only find one of them…this one, or at least the one sitting in this spot. This year the second was about 4 feet behind this one, kind of on the same line, and also in plain sight. You have to understand that “in plain sight” means something different for Paraques than it would for most birds. Even though I knew the second bird was there, since others were seeing it, it still took me 5 minutes to find it…sitting right out in plain paraque sight. The difference in the 2018 version of my yearly Paraque photo is that this bird is wet…or very damp at the least…since it was raining on and off the morning we visited Estero Llano Grande. Of course, I have only ever photographed this bird in sunlight once in all the years I have been going to Texas in November…even on a bright day it is tucked in under deep shade. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Anti-motion Blur mode. (A special mode that takes multiple images and stacks them for better performance in low light.) Processed in Polarr.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Here is something you don’t see everyday…a Yellow-billed Cuckoo sitting right out in plain sight. This very wet and very bedraggled cuckoo was feeding near the boardwalk at the Birding Center on South Padre Island, Texas, part of a wave of migrants coming through with the storm front. The bird continued to feed in plain sight as long as we watched it. It even perched on the boardwalk for a moment. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

White Ibis

We spent the morning at Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center in Weslaco Texas yesterday. It was overcast but the birds were still beautiful on the pond by the Visitor Center, there was lots of activity around the trails. This White Ibis is caught in a classic pose over its reflection. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. +1EV to deal with the bird silhouetted against the bright water. Processed in Polarr.