Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.
Story and Photography by Irene Hinke-Sacilotto
A Scenic and Wildlife Photography Paradise
Badlands National Park is a terrific destination for landscape and wildlife photographers. It is the location of my June 2017 photo workshop, co-lead by Sandy Zelasko. The park is a convenient hour drive east from Rapid City on Interstate 90. North of the Pinnacles Entrance lies the town of Wall where you can find accommodations and other amenities. Near Cedar Pass, at the eastern end of the park, there are campgrounds, cabins, and a few other places to overnight. Continue reading