Have I mentioned how much we like it here?
We're actually staying about eight miles south of Socorro, then a few miles farther south in a small burg named San Antonio. Right now its major claim to fame is the Bosque del Apache and two small eateries, the Owl and the Buckhorn.
Both have been around for over 50 years and enjoy a somewhat friendly rivalry. I first heard about the Owl when I was researching the Trinity Site. Apparently it was a local hangout for many of the folks working at Trinity, so that's the first place we went for lunch. I am sorry to say we were both singularly unimpressed. The chili was way too hot with very little flavor, just heat. In adjusting our palates to New Mexican cuisine, we've discovered that while we love the spicy taste of green chili, there are definite differences from place to place. Some can be just plain hot, but others have a rich green spiciness, complimented by just the right amount of heat.
It's a subtle thing but makes all the difference in the world when it hits your mouth.
So next we decided to try the Buckhorn, which is right across the street, and OH MY GOD! Voted the 7th best burger in the whole United States b y GQ Magazine, I have to say I can't imagine what the other six must taste like. Made with beef that is ground on the premises daily, it's a perfect blend of good meat, pickles, onions, tomatoes and a lovely soft bun. While I don't know what it is that distinguishes a perfect burger from the mediocre run of the mill burger, the folks at the Buckhorn know and they're selling like hot-cakes. I also love their fries, which are actually made from real fresh potatoes, peeled every morning, then only cut when you place your order.
Geez, have I been writing about food a lot lately? It must be the onset of winter, I'm getting into nesting mode.
OK, back to the bosque.
Several times a week, we get up early (like 5 am) and go down to the bosque to watch the sun rise over the marshes. The birds are just waking up and it is a spectacular site to behold.
A word of caution here in case you ever decide to visit the bosque. Early in the morning, it's really cold, much colder than I was prepared for (the winds can really drop the temperature). Since I detest being uncomfortable (and cold is a major discomfort in my book), we hot footed it down to the local second hand store (a GREAT thrift store in Socorro) where I found a gigantic old Field and Stream (really) brand hunting jacket, padded with a flannel lining, and sporting hundreds (well, at least tens) of pockets. It's plenty large enough to fit over the two pair of pants and three shirts that I generally wear when we go birding in the early AM, and it only cost $7.00, what a deal! Add to this a sturdy hat, a muffler scarf, gloves and a pair of earmuffs and I'm good to go.
Attired in this manner, I feel sort of like like little Randy in A Christmas Story. I swear, if I ever fall over in this getup, I will never be able to get up, but I am warm!
On other days, we have chosen to visit the birds at sunset, which is a whole other experience, just as awe inspiring and usually a bit warmer, but I keep my coat in the car, just in case!
If you ever get the chance, I strongly suggest you make the time to spend some time in this area. Life is short and this area still possesses a healthy dose of natural magic.
While we originally came for the Sandhill Cranes, which we love, the Canadian Snow Geese have been a true revelation. Here at Bosque del Apache, they number in the thousands. They tend to flock together and it's such a sight to see and hear, words fail me.
Here's a few more shots of these beautiful birds.
The geese are quite noisy and social, it's such a treat to watch them, They seem to have no sense of personal space at all, crowding together by the hundreds, then, as if some interior signal has been transmitted, they ALL take off.
I wish I could paint a picture of this with words, its a real sight to behold.
I've included a couple of photos. These aren't my favorite (kind of out of focus), but they're the best ones for showing the mass ascension of the Snow Geese.
Is that amazing or what?
It would seem that we're not the only bird lovers here at the bosque. Here's a photo of the not so elusive Americanus Lottabucks Cameramaniacus.
I have to admit that I have a sincere case of lens envy and am seriously considering getting a Digital SLR. Do any of you have any suggestions??
And now I'd like you to pretend that you're watching Sunday Morning on CBS. We thoroughly enjoy this show and always wait to the very end for the nature segment. So imagine that you're watching as I close with a series of shots taken at Bosque del Apache, some from the early morning and others at sunset.
Remember you can always click on a photo for a larger version.
Isn't life grand?