2019—Friday the Thirteenth

Friday was our second morning at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Maybe it was because the day was also Friday the Thirteenth, but the morning started out a little differently from what we’ve been used to on mornings in Bosque del Apache. It wasn’t really ominous but the weather was much warmer than usual for this time of year. It was almost 30 degrees Farenheit at 6AM. That might sound cold to some but here, warmer weather causes the wildlife to act differently. We started out the morning to find for the best possible location to photograph the first Snow Goose “blast off” of the day. This is a spectacle where thousands of Snow Geese explode simultaneously into the air with a thunderous roar of wing beats and goose calls. It is exciting to witness and a challenge to photograph, and it is why we’re here. But we could not see nor could we hear geese anywhere on the ponds in those areas of the refuge where we were allowed drive and where we usually find them. But, the refuge is large and much of it is off limits to visitors. Whether it was the temperature, or something else, the geese and even most of the Sandhill Cranes spent the night in remote areas of the refuge where we could not find them. Moose decided that our best bet was to visit the Track Pond on the highway because frequently after a morning blast-off, the geese come in waves to that pond. His bet paid off. Although we didn’t experience the blast-off, when they began to arrive from a distant pond before sunrise, we were ready for them. The morning sky with just a tinge of red was filled with wave after wave of Snow Geese heading toward us. The moon hadn’t set so its bright light created reflections of them like white dots on the still waters of the pond. It was a beautiful sight to see. As it turned out, Friday the Thirteenth was a good day.