Two freezing evenings and two chilly mornings in December, I watched thousands of birds take flight at a wildlife refuge in San Antonio, NM. Being surrounded by snow geese flapping into the sky as the sun rises is truly an exhilerating experience that photos can’t really do justice. But tons of people spend their days and lives photographing this natural phenomenon in hopes of capturing the birds in action.
Needless to say, it really does take a long lens to take the most quality photos of the birds, and I felt slightly inadequate for the task with only 105 mm zoom, but I still like the photos I took. I am grateful for the fantastic light that comes with early morning and evening photographing!
As for the birds, a variety of species migrates to the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge each winter. The most recent bird count while I was in the area, on Dec. 14, 2012, counted 38,500 Snow Geese and 7,863 Sandhill Cranes.
Sandhill Cranes feed in a pond on Dec. 18, 2012 in Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge.
Sandhill Cranes fly into a pond for the night on Dec. 18, 2012 in Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge.
Sandhill Cranes fly into a pond for the night on Dec. 18, 2012 in Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge. The birds can live for 20 years or more and can have wingspans of more than five feet wide.
Snow Geese lift off from a pond as the sun rises on on Dec. 19, 2012 in Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge.
Tourists watch as snow geese fly through the air the morning of Dec. 19, 2012.
The morning light makes the trees near the viewing deck over corn fields bright against a stormy sky. Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese feed on grains and insects in the fields during the day.
Three Snow Geese take flight near a pond on Dec. 19, 2012 in the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, NM.
I found the image of photographers with super long lenses quite interesting. It almost looks like they are shooting the birds, not with a camera, but with some sort of gun. There’s similar body language at least.
A photographer shoots Snow Geese as they fly to a pond to sleep for the night on Dec. 19, 2012.
Snow Geese take flight the morning of Dec. 20, 2012 in Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.