The cranes are everywhere around here, which in no way diminishes my delight with them. Generally, they travel in pairs or trios (do you know that Sandhill Cranes mate for life?) when they aren't with a larger flock.
These shots were taken in a pasture we drive past almost every day. This trio seems to live here, at least every time we've been by, they (or maybe their close relatives) have been here.
Here's a close up of the pair.
If you look carefully at this next shot you can see all three of them in the center of this pasture. Isn't this landscape glorious?
We've been spending some time at the Visitors center at Bosque del Apache, a most interesting place!
Inside, every day, they post the number of birds at the Refuge. This is calculated using sightings, amounts of feed, and some magical numbers that they seem to pull out of the air.
For instance, on this day, they stated no Bald Eagles, but we saw them, so we know they were there. I guess this isn't an exact science.
It is nice that they even try to count these thousands of birds.
Outside of the Visitors Center is a lovely garden, full of desert plants, sculptures and recreated structures from this areas rich past. This is one of several places where you can have lunch.
The day I was shooting these, the sun was rapidly descending, so the light was pretty interesting. I really liked the way the backlighting on these cactus spines.
For some reason, this shot came out really warm. Since it was in the 40s, it made me feel really good, so I'm including it here.
Another case of interesting backlighting. All these cactus are so intertwined, it's hard to tell where one starts and another leaves off.
With all the cranes and other large birds, we sometimes forget the thousands of small birds, but they add just as much to the magic of this place as their larger relatives.
I caught this just as the sun was going down.
Life is very good.