This is one of the premier winter bird photography
locations in North America. Tens of thousands of Snow Geese and Sandhill
Cranes winter along this stretch of the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico.
Sunrise and sunset are spectacular, while during the mid-day the
snow geese and cranes are doing constant fly-bys between the ponds
and the corn fields. Large flocks of ducks fill in the open
water on the refuge's many ponds, while many types of raptors,
including bald eagles, hunt from the cottonwoods. This is the
only safari where I have carded out (completely filled all my memory
cards, couldn't happen now) by lunch time. On the last safari
we had a terrific encounter photographing Javelina, shooting both a
mother and young, and mating adults.
Warm boots, gloves, overcoat, etc are important as this location can
get very cold and windy.
If coming from California the first three
photographers can ride with me, others can meet me in Socorro, NM
about an hour south of Albuquerque. From my house in Tulare
it's about a 13 hour drive - just an easy day. We alternate buying
gas for those riding with me and split hotel accommodations when
possible or desired. Reservations are at a local hotel in Socorro,
NM, you pay upon check-in. The cost per night is usually
around $80/night, or half that if you split a room.
The deposit is 50% via check, Paypal, or credit card, and
the balance is due halfway between the deposit date and the
safari date unless you are booking within 3 months, then
full payment is due. Check the main safari page for other
information. Spouses can ride along at no charge,
though they will have to buy a ferry ticket.
This safari is 3 days long.
I've spent my 38-year wildlife photography
career shooting in the American West. The first 23
years shooting out of Utah, the past 15 years out of
California. With 1500 published photo credits, dozens
of magazine covers and article, and a lifetime wandering the
roads of the west, the photo safaris that I lead are all to
the best locations, at the best times, during peak wildlife
activity periods. What a rush it has been.
National Wildlife Refuges, there is a road system around
Bosque that gives access to different ponds facing in
different directions. There is a corn field we shoot
at if the wind is favorable. We always want the wind
at our backs so the birds have to land coming towards us, or
taking off. Also, there are a number of "decks" that
give observation points into some ponds.
on which ponds contain the birds at sunrise and sunset,
wide-angle lenses can capture an overall scene that
telephoto or long zoom lens will miss - so bring those
lenses. Each morning there is a "blast-off" of tens of
thousands of snow geese from whichever pond they have
congregated in that morning - just stunning. Watch the
video linked below.