Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
The trip is into the history of New Mexico and our famous Rio Grande River Valley. We will share the beauty of of the journey, the lore, and the excitement of a close encounter with nature. An hour and a half south of Albuquerque, New Mexico is the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. During spring and fall migration, the 57,331-acre refuge is a spot to rest and refuel for many birds as they follow the Rio Grande through the woodlands which hugs the riverbanks. The riverbank forest is called a Bosque and it is named for the Warm Spring Apache tribe that once occupied this area. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge contains thirty-thousand acres of wilderness, providing solitude and offering adventure to those who seek it. This dry desert habitat is home to jackrabbits, quail, and lizards, as well as creosote, sunflower, and mesquite.
The wetlands of the refuge are bordered by the Chupadera Mountians to the west and the San Pascual Mountains to the east. During the Fall and Winter, the refuge is home to tens of thousands of cranes, geese, ducks and other migrating waterfowl following the river. The first cranes and geese typically show up at the end of October, during which time coyotes, mule deer, and javelina are moving through open fields as well. Wild turkeys begin moving to the northern part of the refuge to join up with other family groups in separate male and female roosting flocks. Thousands of snow geese, Ross’s geese, and Sandhill cranes spend the night in water to protect themselves from predators. Near dawn, the geese take off en masse in search of fields throughout the Middle Rio Grande Valley to feed in for the day. They return at sunset. When we drive the loop trail, we will see flooded lakes, feeding fields and, with luck, hawks, eagles, blackbirds, ravens, coots, and other birds along with occasional mammals, such as mule deer, coyotes, and jackrabbits. The sunset is time to watch as thousands of cranes return to the water after a day of feeding. This fly-in is a breath-taking event never to be forgotten. As the Bosque del Apache settles into the night, we will say good-night to our adventure. Returning to Albuquerque, we have the option to stop at the famous Owl Cafe for green-chili cheeseburgers with fries Make sure you bring a camera!