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Thursday, February 11, 2010 - Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park, San Antonio NM

Elk, Bosque National Wildlife Refuge, San Antonio NM, February 11, 2010
Elk, Bosque National Wildlife Refuge, San Antonio NM, February 11, 2010

A day at the Refuge

Today I spent the whole day at the refuge. It was a nice long, relaxing day of hiking and taking pictures and I got some great shots. First of Sandhill Cranes breaking camp at their roost in the morning, then of some ducks and geese and a passing train on a hike around a big marsh. Later I got some great shots of Northern Harriers hunting in the brush along the road and some close shots of a Cooper's Hawk perched in a snag. Lucky me I got to top it all off with my first glimpse of the local elk herd on my way back to the pond for some shots of the Sandhill Cranes returning to the roost. Nice day.

Night camp

Site 16 - Bosque Bird Watcher's RV Park, San Antonio NM

Listening

As the poet Gary Snyder said so well, "Beyond all this studying and managing and calculating, there's another level to nature. You can go about learning the names of things and doing inventories of trees, bushes, and flowers. But nature often just flits by and is not easily seen in a hard, clear light. Our actual experience of many birds and wildlife is chancy and quick. Wildlife is known as a call, a cough in the dark, a shadow in the shrubs. You can watch a cougar on a wildlife video for hours, but the real cougar shows herself only once or twice in a lifetime. One must be tuned to hints and nuances." After more than thirty years of living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and spending a great deal of that time out-of-doors, Snyder has seen the mountain lion on just a few occasions. One of these sightings was most unusual. Gary had been visiting a neighbor and was walking down from the nearby ridge to his home when he observed a cougar sitting near one of the windows of the house. The animal appeared to be listening intently as one of Snyder's stepdaughters practiced the piano.

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