Saturday, March 6, 2010

Snow Geese at the Bosque del Apache

One of the most spectacular birds in flight, especially en masse, would be snow geese. Their contrasting colors of black and white in large numbers can be so exciting to see. And if one has the opportunity to take photos of these birds in flight with a bright blue sky as background is more like icing on the cake. Below I am posting a photo of these birds in flight with mountains in the background at the Bosque del Apache in New Mexico. Back in November, during the Festival of the Cranes, following a morning class my husband and I took regarding Sandhill cranes, we decided to drive around the refuge and seek out our own sights. You can click on the photos to see a larger image.
In the photo below, these all look like snow geese. The differences between snow geese and Ross' geese are slight, but if you look closely at a large flock of geese you can possibly pick them out. Besides being slightly smaller, Ross' geese have rounder heads and their beaks and necks are shorter than snow geese. Probably one of the most noticeable features are the lack of a grin patch on the Ross' beak. They also have a straighter looking beak at the base whereas the snow geese have a more curved base.
Here is another shot of snow geese, especially the ones in the foreground. I really like this image; it looks to me like a mama, papa and two youngsters.
I think this is a golden eagle perched on a power pole. Someone please correct me if I am mistaken.
Last year my husband and I visited one of the prairie dog colonies that the refuge has maintained. It's only been a few years that the Refuge has reintroduced this species, and we visited the colony once again in November. This particular species is known as the black-tailed prairie dog. I have provided a link in case you would like to know more about these animals. On our way to visit the colony of prairie dogs we encountered another species that I am able to add to my wildlife "life" list. And that is the javelina. I have never seen these pig/boar-like animals before, and it happened so quickly that I didn't have the opportunity to get a snapshot. We were rounding the bend in the road and there were at least 7-8 javelinas at the edge of the road. We startled them and they took off up a steep hill into the more arid area of the refuge.
We saw these cranes eating in the field while driving around the refuge. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you will be able to see that some of the cranes have their heads up, literally looking to the sky. They are calling out to other cranes while the others are busy eating. I wonder what they are "saying." :o)
And here is a male-female pair in the foreground eating in the marshy field. Don't you just love those red heads?


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.

Erie's Argonaut said...

Those are wonderful photos. I'm tired of seeing all the Canada Geese around here. The Snow Geese are so beautiful! That sure looks like a Golden Eagle to me. How I would love to see one in person. The ducks are starting to migrate through here so we are getting excited after enduring snow for so long.

Mary C said...

Thanks Ruth and Linda.

Linda, I know what you mean when it comes to Canada geese. Do you get to see little goslings later in the spring or early summer? Even though the geese are a dime a dozen (so to speak), I think the little goslings following their mama or papa are so cute.

Ruth said...

I see so many posts about Snow Geese yet I have never seen even one.There are spotted in low numbers occasionally in our area but usually mixed in with Canada Geese. Nice pictures.


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