Friday, December 15, 2006

Bosque del Apache

This is an odd year. At the beginning of the month, most of the sandhill cranes who usually winter on the Bosque del Apahe National Wildlife Refuge down below Socorro (see map) were still hanging around in fields in the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado, feasting on a late grain crop. The numbers are slowly increasing, and the Refuge managers don't seem to be worried, but in the count posted on December 8th there were still only 7620 sandhill cranes; last year there were 12,000 by Thanksgiving. By the December 13th count another 1000 cranes had arrived, but it's more complicated than that: the website says "8600 cranes roost on the Refuge ponds and 5600 are feeding on it during the day. 3000 cranes are feeding in farm fields to the north of the Refuge."
cranes on November 29th
Sandhill cranes at dawn, November 30, 2006

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