DVOC Main Page > Field Trips 2004 > Bosque del Apache Field Trip


Page last updated
Sunday, May 29, 2005


Field Trip Leader - Adrian Binns
Assisted by Bert Filemyr and Martin Selzer

Trip Report
  Daily reports by Martin Selzer
Day One
- Day Two - Day Three - Day Four - Day Five - Day Six - Day Seven - Day Eight - Day Nine
Species Seen
Snow Goose Bands
  Follow-up by Colin Campbell
Trip inspired Literary Work
  A poem by Fran Hovey
  Images by Bert Filemyr
  Images by Adrian Binns
  Images by Nancy Cooke and Steve Liebhaber
  Images by Connie Goldman 12/29/04
  Images by Naomi Murphy 12/29/04
  Images by Deborah Danila 12/29/04
  Images by Martin Selzer 12/31/04


On this page: Overview, Participants, Itinerary, Map of Area, Links


Bosque Del Apache is one of the nation’s premier National Wildlife Refuges hosting 100,000 winter migrants, including 18,000 sandhill cranes, from as far away as the Canadian Arctic and Bering Straits. We will be here to witness what is described by many as the greatest North American birding spectacle – the fly-out at Bosque del Apache. Dawn at 4800’ in the high desert ....clouds of snow geese, sandhill cranes and ducks rise skyward from the desert floor, many just above your head, engulfing you with unforgettable sounds and images. Many wildlife photographers consider it to be one of the most photogenic places in the country.

From Albuquerque we’ll bird our way south along the Rio Grande visiting the Sandia Mountains, Rio Grande Nature Center, Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs, and Percha Dam State Park—one of the state’s best landbird sites. Expect a variety of waterbirds, raptors, and western passerines. We’ll make every effort to locate sought-after species like Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Crissal Thrasher, and all three Rosy-finches. Mammals may include Abert’s Tassel-eared Squirrel and Pronghorn Antelope.


1. Adrian Binns
2. Bert Filemyr
3. Martin Selzer
4. Bill Murphy
5. Naomi Murphy
6. Dennis Bert
7. Anna Bert
8. Fran Hovey
9. Denis Brennan
10. Steve Liebhaber
11. Nancy Cooke
12. Connie Goldman

13. Colin Campbell
14. Deborah Danila
15. Don Jones
16. Jayne Jones
17. Tom Reeves
18. Doris Santos


Day 1 ~ Saturday December 4
The Rio Grande Nature Center will give us a chance to see a good variety of locally common species visible well at feeders in riparian cottonwoods and at a restored wetland. The center offers interpretive displays and a bookstore.
Night in Albuquerque

Day 2 ~ Sunday December 5
We’ll head to Sandia Crest, climbing to over 10,000 feet (by road) through several habitats. Birds here could include Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, and Townsend’s Solitaire. With some luck we may be able to see all three species of Rosy-finches and perhaps Pine Grosbeak or Red Crossbill. The view from the summit is spectacular. After lunch, if there is any report of a species of interest, we will chase after it or head to Bosque del Apache NWR.
Night in Socorro

Day 3 ~ Monday December 6
Our entire day will be spent enjoying the sights and scenery of Bosque Del Apache NWR. We can expect to see thousands of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes coming to roost here, as well as a variety of raptors, waterbirds, and assorted passerines. We should encounter Neotropic Cormorant, Ross’s Goose (often dozens), Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, Gambel’s Quail, Black Phoebe, and Bewick’s Wren. The refuge offers a nice bookstore and gift shop.
Night in Socorro

Day 4 ~ Tuesday December 7
A pre-dawn visit to Bosque is a must for the spectacle of tens of thousands of birds leaving the roost as well as the gorgeous sunlight mountains surrounding the refuge. Water Canyon will provide us with some new habitats including desert grasslands, riparian forest, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. Previous visits here have produced McCown’s and Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Acorn Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, and a herd of Pronghorn Antelope.
Night in Socorro

Day 5 ~ Wednesday December 8
Elephant Butte Reservoir offers a stark and dryer contrast to the trip. The desert habitat here gives us a new suite of species. We’ll seek out Sage and Black-throated Sparrows and a Sage Thrasher if we’re lucky. The reservoir often holds thousands of Western Grebes, Clark’s Grebes, American White Pelicans, and other waterfowl. During the afternoon we’ll visit New Mexico’s premier migrant/landbird trap, Percha Dam State Park. In addition to the mountain backdrop, riparian woodlands and open country give us a chance to see Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Phainopepla, and Red-naped Sapsucker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and Cactus Wren.
Night in Truth & Consequences

Day 6 ~ Thursday December 9
A morning visit to Percha Dam for another crack at late migrants and open country birds will be followed by a visit to Caballo Dam State Park and Reservoir. The latter should produce a variety of waterbirds and gulls and adjacent deserts offer another chance to look for Greater Roadrunner, Rock Wren, and Crissal Thrasher. If time permits, we may also poke around a few places in T or C including Riverside Drive and Paseo del Rio Park (both along the Rio Grande)
Night in Truth & Consequences

Day 7 ~ Friday December 10
We’ll keep this day somewhat flexible in order to revisit productive stops or concentrate on sought-after species. Likely stops include the small but birdy Paseo del Rio Park, Caballo Dam, and an afternoon visit at Bosque Del Apache NWR.
Night in Albuquerque

Day 8 ~ Saturday December 11
Another visit to Sandia Crest will probably produce some different montane species. Possibilities include Clark’s Nutcracker, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Evening Grosbeak. Petroglyphs National Monument offers a chance to see ancient Native American rock carvings as well as Curve-billed Thrasher, Rock Wren, Rufous-crowned and Sage Sparrows. We may revisit the Rio Grande Nature Center again, time permitting.
Night in Albuquerque

Day 9 ~ Sunday December 12
A little birding first thing in the morning before making our way to the airport.

Map of Area

Click here to view map showing Albuquerque, Socorro, and Truth or Consequences


Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Bosque del Apache
Rosy-finches at Sandia Crest
Arizona/New Mexico Birding List (at Birdingonthe.net)