Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook are probably aware that I have had a colossal disaster at my office this week. Normally I would have a carefully crafted, well organized post for my March contribution to Birding is Fun!, but this month I'm content to post some photos from one of New Mexico's lesser-known birding areas, Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area. Bernardo's 1,573 acres include about 450 acres of crops cultivated to provide winter feed for migratory and upland birds that share corn, grain sorghum and green feed raised there. Widely scattered cottonwoods, growths of tamarisk, a pond and a small marsh signal the fact that the area lies along a river bottom. The Rio Grande flows nearby. Although Bernardo is much less well known than Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to the south, it often has more birds than you find at Bosque del Apache.

The setting is really lovely!
Here are some photos that I've taken at Bernardo:
Female Red-winged Blackbird
A blizzard of Snow Geese
A lovely female American Kestral
There really are quite a lot of Snow Geese
A Say's Phoebe in the late afternoon light.

Dark-eyed Juncos sit int the coyote willows.
Mountain Bluebirds migrate through the area in the early spring.
On my last visit to Bernardo I saw quite a few bald eagles. This one was looking for prey in a field.
Because of the fields of grain at Bernardo, there are large numbers of Sandhill cranes in winter.
Sandhill Cranes in a grain field.
This photo shows the size difference between Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes.
Sandhill Cranes at Bernardo
It's a lovely sight to watch the Sandhill Cranes fly over the bosque.
Sandhill Cranes fly over the Rio Grande bosque.
The cranes are beautiful birds!
One of the best things about a trip to Bernardo is watching the cranes fly in at sunset.
Sandhill Cranes fly in at sunset
Sandhill Cranes and cottonwoods silhouetted against the sunset
Sandhill Cranes against a pink sunset sky.
Did I mention that the sunsets are amazing?
Although Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area is much less well known than Bosque del Apache, it is a lovely place, and there is excellent birding. I highly recommend a visit there for birders traveling to New Mexico.

 All photos ©Linda Rockwell. Contact Corralena@gmail.com for permission.

26 comments:

  1. Fabulous photos of a wonderful place!

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    1. Thank Bill! I just love Bernardo. Of course, you were with me when I took most of the photos. :-)

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  2. GREAT shots of the Mountain Bluebird and Lesser/Greater Sandhills. I'll have to check it out next time I'm around...

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    1. Thank you very much Steve. And yes, it's well worth checking out!

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  3. Nice article, keep posting more.

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  4. Really liked it.
    Wish there are more 2see....
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  5. These images and your description of the area make me want to visit NM even more Linda!

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    1. You're just going to have to come to visit Mia! I promise that we'll have a wonderful time!

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  6. Beautiful! Lovely place and great images! I love the American kestrel!!! I have never gotten a shot of one.

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    1. Thank you Beverly. I love the kestrel too. That little girl sat very nicely for me to take several photos. She was a real sweetie!

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  7. Linda, this looks like such a beautiful area to go birding. So many pretty birds and stunning scenic views! I am really fascinated by Sandhill Cranes. To see so many congregated in one place must be such a delight. Your photographs are wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Julie. New Mexico really is a wonderful place to see many Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese in winter. I'm happy that you like the photos!

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  8. Linda, you are such a great advocate for New Mexico birding. Beautiful bird photography!

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    1. Thanks Robert. New Mexico really is a lovely place to go birding. I love to show people what we have to offer here!

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  9. Ahhh.... Management area. A word that seems to no longer exist where I live. :-(

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    1. There are large management areas along the Rio Grande and the Pecos River in NM. It's a shame that they don't have them where you live. :-(

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  10. Wow~ wonderful place! Great photos Rocky!

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  11. Terrific post! I calculated approximately umpteen Snow Geese in that blizzard of geese photo. The cranes in flight photos are beautiful. So are the rest of the photos! Nice place.

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    1. Thanks Scott. Happy that you like the photos. :-) You're just going to have to come down here and see for yourself!

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  12. Wonderful post and photos Linda.

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    1. Thank you Dan. I literally threw this one together at the last minute. Bernardo is such a wonderful place that I figured the photos would rescue me! :-)

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  13. Stunning pics! I'm w/ Mia.. Must vusit NM sometime..

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    1. You and Mia both have open invitations Cindy! I have quarters for visiting birders. :-) Happy you like the photos!

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  14. Wonderful photographs Linda! NM is definately on my bucket list :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Lisa. And yes, you must visit NM! You're invited. :-)

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