Birds of the Western Slope Nov. 16, 2016

By Evelyn Horn


Birds of the Western Slope Nov. 16, 2016 | Birds of the Western Slope, Evelyn Horn

Photo by Peter Barth Sandhill crane at Harts Basin.

Crane Festival,
Bosque del Apache

The weekend before Thanksgiving was always reserved for my Bosque trip. I made hotel reservations in Socorro and since the town isn't large, rooms were sometimes difficult to find. Although I can't go this year, I'll be there in spirit to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of this special crane festival on Nov. 15-20.
On its website, www.festivalofthecranes.com, there is a session on burrowing owls that I would like to attend. These little owls (at five ounces) are diurnal (daylight active) and there used to be a colony at the intersection of the road over Redland Mesa and Highway 82. I watched these curious owls for years. Gone now.

In fact, there are two sessions on burrowing owls and another on the loggerhead shrike (the one most often seen at Harts Basin). Another one that I would like to see is "Duck Butts." It is an "intensive session" at $45 but it would be fun. Years ago I attend such a session (not intensive) where the speaker said that often times all we get to see is the rear end of ducks! It was informative as well as entertaining!

There are also opportunities to visit the Old Mission, the Very Large Array (VLA), the Quabradas Road (four wheels recommended but not required), a "Star Party," hikes to the Magdenelina Mines (plenty of geology there), dinners, a stage play, horseback rides, hikes, the Bosque store, and walks to the morning fly-outs and the evening fly-ins. Of great interest to me, are intensive sessions on cranes and cranes' behavior, with Paul Tebbel who was at the Platte River when I made that trip. I've been to the Bosque many times and I was even privileged to be a presenter a number of times. What wonderful fun that was!

Many of the sessions this year are in photography, and they are all expensive, ranging from $40 and up. If I were a photographer I'd be interested, but that's not my scene. Everything that I can imagine has a session: capturing birds in flight, elusive birds, Bosque birds, hummingbirds, raptors, water birds (at Elephant Butt Lake) and the Aplomado Falcon.

Although I can't go this year, I'll be there in spirit.