18 Mar

Bosqe del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Posts here have been infrequent due to limited wifi access. I hope that this will change in the near future. On the other hand, many changes have occurred during the last several months.

A few long-time readers here are aware that the desert in southwest Texas was my Home. No longer. That process was slow and very painful. That change, however, is a positive and happy move in the right direction. This author is now fully disentangled from Texas, officially a Nomad (or ‘location independent’ 😉 and committed to serving at the wildlife refuges in the lower states. It is my mission and new retirement ‘career’. And it has thus far given me much joy and satisfaction, more than my previous years in academia. Especially the last six years. I am back in the field, where I belong.

What has not changed, however, is my penchant for arid and semi-arid environments. On the other hand, a new component has attracted, fixated and captured me: the juxtaposition of desert and riparian environments. Water in the desert, and all the life that it attracts.

Everything about the high desert and riparian habitats have captured me. Like a precious jewel of life and sweetness that huddles and coexists with its opposite. It is the quintessential yin and yang. And I love them both.

Chihuahuan desert and marshlands in south-central New Mexico on the BdA Refuge.

I will shortly return to the high desert in the northern stretch of the Great Basin, the largest desert of North America. At a national refuge in southeast Oregon I will be working with the biologists in bird surveys, nest monitoring, bird banding, and leading occasional tours into natural areas on the refuge. My free time will again be spent camping and hiking in the mountains and in the wild.

With better wifi access, I promise to post more frequently about the high deserts, the geography, geology and the life there.

In remembrance of my four and one-half months at the Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico, I will introduce you to a few of the many ‘friendships’ I made.

Male bufflehead duck ready to dive under water.

One of 13 overwintering bald eagles this past winter on the BdA Refuge.

Top count of red-tailed hawks was 38 during one survey. This was a lucky capture.

Rufus x dark morph red-tailed hawk, I suspect a female.

Immature Red-tailed hawk. One of the many we saw during our weekly raptor surveys on BdA.

Two neotropic cormorants visiting the Rookery wetland at the BdA Refuge.

Cinnamon teal drake weaves its way in between resting snow and Ross’ geese.

Female American kestrel, my favorite little falcon.

I have had the fortune and pleasure to meet many wonderful people from around the world at the Bosque del Apache Refuge. Crossing paths with a few people led to surprises: a former colleague from the USDA in Corvallis, Oregon, and fellow Refuge volunteer from my hometown and high school! Hundreds of photographers visit the wildlife refuges across the country, and my most favorite and memorable is a very interesting, friendly and kind photographer, Danny Hancock from Texas. I am privileged to have met him and have enjoyed our chats. With his kind permission, his photograph of this male American kestrel is my ultimate favorite of any I have seen during my stay at the Refuge this past winter and spring.

You can enjoy more of Danny’s work at his website, 500px , by following the link. Thanks, Danny, and I hope we meet again.

Male Am. kestrel by Danny Hancock, wildlife photographer.


One Response to “Changes……”

  1. essentialsediting March 18, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    Wonderful pictures! Takes me back in a flash to this last winter at BdA. So glad we met!

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