Last year I went to the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR and had such a great time I am planning on going again, this year–and maybe every year for the rest of my life! You can see my posts about that experience here:
If you are interested in Birding or in Bird Photography, then you may want to join me. The main draw for me was all the photography classes they offered, but if you just love birds and aren’t interested in photography there are still many classes you’ll be glad to take. See the entire list of classes here: http://www.friendsofthebosque.org/crane/2015schedule.html
There are many classes for photographers, but there are many that anyone could enjoy, these two classes stand out for everybody:
- Point & Shoot Nature Photography: $25 Serious nature photography is no longer the sole domain of the well equipped DSLR photographer. As thousands of photographers have discovered over the past few years, today’s long zoom Point and Shoot digital cameras, in the hands of a thoughtful and creative photographer, are capable of amazingly satisfying images of everything from birds and wildlife, to macros of wildflowers and insects, to grand landscapes and sweeping panoramas under dramatic skies…all in a relatively small, compact, and inexpensive package. This workshop provides a basic introduction to the cameras (including how to choose the best one for your needs) and techniques that put nature photography within the reach of anyone with the desire to share what they appreciate in the natural world. Part inspiration and part instruction, it will convince you that it is indeed possible to be a “real” nature photographer with a Point & Shoot camera. Limit 20.
- Deadly Beauty Behavior: $30 Live raptors in the field! Explore the strategies that hawks and falcons use to catch their prey and raise their young with falconer, raptor breeder, and wildlife rehabilitator Matthew Mitchell. Trained hawks and falcons will be released to fly, chase lures, and possibly even hunt wild quarry (viewers be warned!). This group will meet at the west side of the Owl Café in San Antonio at 8:00 AM and carpool a short distance to an area where the birds can be flown safely. Bring your questions and binoculars. Cameras are allowed, but no dogs, please. Limit 30.
Last year I decided to go at the last minute so when I went to sign up for classes, many were full so I couldn’t take them–I’m not going to let that happen again this year! Registration for classes starts on September 8th for members of the Friends of the Bosque, and September 9th for non-members and I think I’m going to join just to get the 1 day head start!
The reason I’m posting this now is to invite you to join me in camping near the Bosque. Whether you just want to camp with me on BLM land, take a quick tour of the NWR, or even take some classes, it won’t cost much and you can travel with me on the way to Quartzsite. Here are some answers to questions you may have:
When is it? November 17-22, 2015. I’d prefer to avoid being there on the weekend but I think there is a class on Saturday I would like to take so I may be there until then.
Will we have to pay for camping? No, I found a great, free campsite on BLM land about 10 miles north of the refuge. It even had decent internet. There is a $5 a day or $15 yearly pass to get into the Refuge. If you have the $80 Interagency pass like I do, or a federal senior or disability pass, you can get in free. Get a Benchmark Atlas of the State from Amazon here: Benchmark New Mexico Road & Recreation Atlas
What will the weather be like? Last year the whole country was shivering in a deep freeze including the Refuge. It was very cold, down to the low teens every night. So come expecting and ready for very cold weather and if it’s warm you’ll be grateful. I recommend the Mr Buddy Heater from Amazon: Mr. Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Heater Be sure to get the Mr. Buddy filter to go along with the heater: MR Buddy Fuel Filter
Will it be crowded? I had worried about that last year but there were no crowds at all. But I didn’t stay until the weekend so it may get worse, but I doubt it will be unpleasant. This year I am planning to stay through the weekend.
Is there nearby shopping? There is a Walmart in Socorro, NM about 19 miles north of the Refuge.
Will I see many birds? Tons! To identify Birds this is one of the very best Field Guides, get it from Amazon here: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America,
Is there anything else to do? It’s New Mexico, there’s plenty to see and do! I highly recommend this Photography Guide to New Mexico! I own it and wouldn’t go there without it! Get it from Amazon here: Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3–Colorado/New Mexico
Things that are fairly close by are:
- Very Large Array radio-telescope
- White Sands National Monument
- Carlsbad Caverns NP
- Gilla Cliff Dwellings NM
- Roswell Aliens
- Billy the Kid History
- Ghost Towns
Where is it? The Refuge is 19 miles south of Socorro, NM and 96 miles south of Albuquerque, NM on I-25.
If you are interested in joining me let me know.
Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3–Colorado/New Mexico
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Photographing Birds: Art and Techniques
New Mexico Road & Recreation Atlas
Mr. Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Heater
MR Buddy Fuel Filter