Friday, January 2, 2009

Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area

After leaving the Festival of the Cranes my husband and I wanted to stop at another location while heading back to Albuquerque. I was given a tip to visit Bernardo Waterfowl Managment Area if I wanted to see more Sandhill Cranes and possibly get a closer look at them. Bernardo, New Mexico is about 25 miles north of Socorro on I-25. The waterfowl management area is managed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The staff here maintains the crops of corn and alfalfa as well as the irrigation operations. This place is a good spot for wintering ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes. Hunting is permitted, but I'm not sure when that applies, but bird watching is good during the fall and winter months.
We drove down a gravel road/pathway to the first pull-off spot where there was a deck to overlook the area. We could hear the cranes and geese but didn't see any in the fields around us. But I did capture the sight of a hawk. I think this was a Red-tailed - and an uncooperative one at that. He only showed his back, and then the next time I looked he was gone.

Below, I tried to get a panoramic type of photo of the sandhill cranes we saw as we drove on down the gravel road. There were cranes farther back, too. You might be able to see them if you click on the photo to see a larger image.
Here are some cranes in flight. In this photo you can see mountains in the distance. As you can see, this was a really pretty area.
Here is another "in-flight" photo. Isn't it amazing how flat (in a lateral sense) these birds seem to be while gliding in flight? These are such fascinating birds. They make weird gutteral sounds, both in the field and while flying. I find these birds to look so graceful while in flight, yet while they are feeding in the fields they do not appear to be so graceful - at least not like they do in flight.
The lighting here was not beneficial for taking a photo, but then it gives one an eerie feeling, or maybe it's a typical autumn look. Notice the mountains in the distance are quite hazy, yet the pond the snow geese are occupying has quite a glare on it. The birds in flight are a couple of sandhill cranes. And as far as I could tell, all the waterfowl on the pond were snow geese. Anyway, I like this photo - it seems to portray a pastoral feeling to me.


Leedra said...

I especially like the 3rd and 4th photos. The 4th is wonderful!

Linda in Erie said...

That is a very pretty area. The cranes look beautiful in flight. I bet you hated to leave New Mexico.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Your pictures are so lovely.The last one belongs on a calendar.I think the lack of sunshine give s them a more gentle look.

Mary C said...

Leedra - thank you! The last 3 are the ones I'm exceptionally pleased with. As you know, it's not easy getting birds in motion in focus. But I guess I had my camera's settings just right. It also helps to be at the right place at the right time.

Linda - you are so right! Everytime I visit I want to stay longer. And the crazy thing - when we lived in Albuquerque (only about 3 years) I didn't take the time to visit these special places often enough. (sigh)

Ruth, thank you. I think certain places at certain times actually makes one think how peaceful and tranquil they feel. And that is how I felt when I took that photo. I think it was a good ending of a wonderful trip.

Shellmo said...

The last photo would make a beautiful card!!

Red said...

I really like the last photo too! What do you mean "not beneficial for photo taking?" Looks perfectly fine to me. Not too much glare off the water there and the middle ground game in pretty good.

I should go look at the original, but I think I see an Eider out there in the middle and either a Great Blue Heron on the far left or it's a Sand Hill Crane. It seems to be standing up like a Heron though.

Mary C said...

Shelley, thank you! I really don't consider myself a good photographer. I'm usually trying to document my experiences. But once in a while I get some good composition. ;o)

Hi Red. I felt the photo had that "washed out" look to it, or "overexposed." But I still like it. Well, I'd say you've got quite an eagle eye to catch that eider. Do you think I can add that to my life list? Thanks for pointing it out! As for the other bird I'm fairly certain it is a sandhill crane. Great spotting technique you've got. Wow!


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