A Little Bit of Bosque History … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Little Bit of Bosque History ...

A Little Bit of Bosque History …

If you have been to or are thinking of visiting Bosque del Apache NWR near San Antonio, New Mexico, you might want to learn a little bit of Bosque history by clicking here. Scroll down to see two of my BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year-honored (film) images.

The Bosque Site Guide

The Bosque Site Guide is somewhat dated as conditions have gotten consistently worse over the past few years. None-the-less, the dawn and early evening advice is still quite relevant as is the general wind and sky condition advice. Click here for details.

14 comments to A Little Bit of Bosque History …

  • marco cinti

    I always find your blog super inspirational. Thanks for the share.

  • James Saxon

    If you have never been to Bosque, I recommend purchasing the site guide. I purchased it years ago and use it as a reference every time I am there. Have not been in the last 2 years, just thought I would give it a rest. Do not forget to try the Ladd Gordon area for a change of luck. Always found birds there but be careful of backgrounds and sun angle.

  • Bill Coatney

    Just returned from Bosque (11/30-12/5)
    North Crane Pool has “casual” water( small patch of sheet water) ie not flooded and the parking lot has been eliminated.

    South Crane Pool is in good shape and has enough birds to get blast offs etc

    Flight deck did not have a lot of birds but the eagle on the lone tree is pretty much a given.

    They are beginning to flood the South Loop pools– decent number of ducks…cranes and snows, not so much

    Northern most part of the Farm Loop is where most of the action was last week– cut corn area has good number of close birds but the sun angle is kind of problematic.

    Where the Farm Loop turns back south has good numbers of ducks in the moist soil pond. Cranes were using it to roost as well. Further down that road they have cut corn and the cranes and snow geese are going to town on it.
    Snow geese and a few Canada geese were also hitting a green field–I think it was probably winter wheat but I really didn’t stop to check it out.

    Species photographed: Javelina (east leg of the Farm Loop) and where the concrete canal ditch is on the North leg. Mule deer at the Flight Deck ‘rest area’ and on the South Loop.
    Cranes,snow geese and ducks as described above.
    Male Harrier (Gray Ghost) about 1/8 mile from the turn where the East leg of the Farm Loop turns west
    Large flock of redwing black birds ( neat almost abstract) on North end of Farm loop
    Rio Grand Turkeys– all over the North end of the Farm Loop
    Mature Bald Eagle and Immature ahnging out with several Northern Harriers where the Farm Loop turns back South

    Talked with some folks that will remain nameless since I do not wish them to be on the wrong side of the official line from Refuge Staff. They mentioned that there is a roost pond that is waaaaaay off the South Loop’s most southern portion where the majority of birds are reported to be. Several of the people that told me this were veterans of photographing Bosque with over 100 years combined experience. We asked a staff guy that we made friends with and he wouldn’t confirm or deny but his body language and wry grin suggested that it might be true. Being hearsay…salt is recommended and as always– your mileage may vary.

    We were there in between a couple of big storms and it looked like there were new birds moving in. We learned that you can not rely on the bird counts and as long as you have birds that are within good photographic distance…it really doesn’t matter.

    Example: We didn’t feel like rubbing elbows at the South Crane pool and had noticed that were about 250-300 snow geese and maybe 50 cranes in what was the North Crane Pool in that ‘casual’ water I mentioned. We worked on birds in flight waiting for the blast off. Took awhile but when it happened, I could have touched the geese by merely raising my hand and I am vertically challenged. We had to park on the side of the road that was headed back to San Antonio since the south bound shoulder had No Parking Anytime signs. May or may not be allowed what we did but no tickets, so no harm — no foul.

    Sorry for the long post but the only way to know where, when and what is to just go and work to make the best of what is there.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      What a shame … Another crown jewel of the NWR system ruined …


      • Bill Coatney

        It appears that they have decided to not fill the North Crane pool and let it revert to a non wet land—disappointing.

        The South Crane pool appears to be their choice. It certainly concentrates the birds and the new parking lot concentrates the photographers and birders.

        We didn’t do much at the Flight Deck—grabbed a couple of eagle shots & the tree—even had 2 mature eagles one morning. It was more in passing than a primary destination.

        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          That they are letting Harry’s Crane pool go back to “non wetland” is just another in a decade long line of anti-photographer management decisions. They have thousands and thousands of acres of “non wetland” habitat and decreasing wetland acreage. Perhaps they will do the same with the Ed Kranepool next year. The best part is that I have been the only one to complain, that for more than a decade. But in addition to complaining, trying to help guide or influence management if you would, I also started a volunteer group that did a tremendous amount of work in clearing sight lines at the refuge about nine years ago. The group was active for about three years until the folks involved disbanded due to lack of support from refuge management.

          with love, artie

  • David Policansky

    Artie: there are lots of birds at Bosque. The best blast-offs I ever saw were this past January and there are many thousands of cranes, light geese, and ducks there now.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David,

      Where? How far from the road? Has the road by the farm deck re-opened? Are you always looking into the sun? Any birds in the main impoundment at dawn? I am mainly talking about Snow Geese 🙂


      • David Policansky

        Artie: there often but not always are lots of geese (and always cranes) in the “crane pool” on Route 1 north of the visitor center. Only one of the two pools–the bigger one–has water this year. The Farm Deck road is closed to let the fields recover so yes, during the day you’re looking into the sun or through trees for many of the cranes. The refuge staff are well aware that photographers don’t like. There are hundreds of turkeys this year too. Refuge manager Kevin Cobble just retired.

        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks David, Pathetic as I figured 🙂


          ps: water in only one crane pool when the rest of the place is worthless is criminal …

  • I love your guide which I purchased 3 years back. Definitely recommended… I will be Bosque last week of this Year..

    Lets see how it goes