This past weekend we were able to take a day trip down to the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge.
It was amazing!
The Bosque is a huge refuge where many birds migrate for the winter. And since we are studying flying creatures for zoology this year, it was a great field trip as well. Most of the birds are there for the winter months, so we were visiting at the tail end of when the refuge is fullest and many had already left, but we still saw birds everywhere.
Earlier in the week, we made a trip to the local library and I checked out three bird guides that we took with us. We had so much fun trying to scramble through the pages of the bird guides to identify the birds we were seeing. Thank goodness for digital cameras. Jonah, Scott’s dad, and I were armed with bird guides while Scott and his mom were armed with digital cameras. Between the five of us, we were getting pretty good by the end of the day. Jonah did very well with his bird guide and even identified some birds before I was able to! And once we found the birds in our guides, G.G. and Abby did a good job of confirming our identifications.
We saw hundreds of Sandhill Cranes and Canadian Geese, many, many coots (small duck-like birds that like the water but don’t have webbed feet. We all enjoyed saying “Ahh, look at the coot little bird.”) many ducks with beautiful colors, hawks, and…
Two adult Adult Bald Eagles. In the wild. Soaring and perched in a tree.
Bald Eagles! In the wild! That was definitely the highlight of my day. It was early in our drive around the refuge. We stopped at a lookout point and saw a big bird perched in a tree. It was far enough away (and we had all somehow forgot to bring binoculars) that we weren’t sure what type of bird it was. However, a wonderful birder (that we ended up seeing several times throughout the day) was already at that lookout with his telescope set up and as soon as he saw us watching the eagle, he invited us all to use his telescope.
It was one of those mommy moments where I’m pretty sure my kids were a little embarrassed of me. I kept telling them how amazing it was to see Bald Eagles in the wild and how they should really appreciate it because they may be getting to experience this at a very young age, but I had never seen Bald Eagles outside zoos before. Jonah assured me he “got it, mom” and that he truly did appreciate it. I’m not sure he did.
We left with wind-tossed hair, dried out skin and worn-out kids. The next day, I woke with a headache and congestion as my sinuses tried to expel the dust I had breathed in.
It was so worth it. So amazing.
If you are ever in New Mexico during the winter months…Bosque Del Apache.