Where Dusk and Dawn Are Deafening
Last November we went to Socorro, New Mexico for the Festival of the Cranes held annually at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Tens of thousands of waterfowl and sandhill cranes spend the winter on the refuge. Every morning the birds—primarily sandhill cranes and snow geese—stage a huge fly-out just after dawn, heading to the nearby fields to eat grain. Every evening the birds fly back in to roost for another night in the waters of the refuge, safe from predators. Headed in or headed out, the birds make a terrific noise--nearly deafening at times.
The birders attending the festival are there every morning and evening to witness the spectacle. Oh my, it's bone-chilling cold out there in the desert early and late in the day. But the birds, the landscape, and the light all combine to make it a magic place to be.
Last winter I captured a bit of (admittedly poor) video of a small gathering of cranes and geese at dusk coming in to roost, along the road into the refuge.
Moments later, the light left us for good, so we headed to the Owl Bar in nearby San Antonio, NM, to warm up with a cold beer and to challenge our constitutions with the Owl Bar's famous green-chile cheeseburgers.