January at the Bosque

Sandhill Crane, not quite ready to start the day

A few images from a trip to Bosque del Apache NWR this past January. The sad part of spending time at Bosque in the winter is that, while it is still chilly in the early morning, days warm into the 50s and 60s. A little skim ice forms on the edges of the ponds but winter? That seems a thing of the past. Even so, the great part of visiting Bosque is the show never ends.

Of the thousands of light geese (Snow or Ross’s) that winter at the Bosque, a few end up feeding some of the others that live there.  Ravens are almost always the first on the scene.

Chihuahuan Raven{Corvus cryptoleucus
Raven, first on the unfortunate goose
Chihuahuan Raven{Corvus cryptoleucus
Squabbles erupt over carcass

It doesn’t take long for others to arrive for a potential meal. Sometimes it’s a Bald Eagle or a coyote or two.

Coyote [Canis latrans]
This coyote tiptoed through the skim ice on the edge of the pond, eyes on the prize
Coyote [Canis latrans]
The water isn’t deep but still….

Wind kept the carcass slowly moving down the pond. We left so the coyotes could retrieve what the ravens left. A little later we returned to discover they had recovered it and moved into some brush. Looked like the family showed up to get their share, maybe 5 or 6, so that share was pretty small.

Bald Eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus]
Immature Bald Eagle tries to move a different goose carcass, didn’t succeed. It did drag it in small increments into more shallow water.

It isn’t all about death and scavenging. There is beauty all around and interesting behaviors to watch.

Greater Roadrunner [Geococcys californianus]
Greater Roadrunner thermoregulating. They fluff their feathers to reveal inner dark feathers that absorb the sun’s heat. Solar heating!
Northern Shoveler {Anas clypeata
Northern Shovelers preening, some still sleeping.
Say's Phoebe [Sayornis saya]
perched Say’s Phoebe
Javelina / Collared Peccary [Dicotyles tajacu]
Javelina or Collared Peccary (sometimes called a pig, they are not) foraging

A small herd of Javelina foraged through the grounds around the AirBnB we were staying at, near San Antonio New Mexico, so not at the refuge.

Javelina / Collared Peccary [Dicotyles tajacu]
Javelina, they don’t always pose nicely out in the open.


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