Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunrise, Sunset at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico

         I don’t want to move, to speak, or even to breathe—so fearful am I of altering the dawn dreamscape before my eyes.  Burnt amber hues saturate the sky’s canvas. Then magenta appears, along with powder-puff blue.  Finally a roiling dusky orange steals in from above and below, threatening to engulf the heavens in flames.  We point our cameras skyward while the marshes at our feet reflect this celestial palette here on earth.

A pair of ducks float in a Kodachrome marsh.
         Where are we?  Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico.  Tim and I have journeyed south to see the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese which congregate here in winter.  Flocks of cranes soar overhead, their prehistoric cries lingering in the air.  Clouds of geese rise as one from their nighttime watery roosts, the whirring of wings mimicking the roar of a jetliner powering up for take-off.

Top:  Snow geese awaken after a good night's sleep.
Middle:  The geese lift off as a single organism.
Bottom:  The flock fans out overhead.
 The birding is rewarding but the display of color and light at dusk and dawn is astonishing.   

No,  your eyes don't deceive you.  We witnessed
sunrises and sunsets like these every day.

Sandhill Cranes at Sunrise.

         Regular readers of this blog know I’m drawn to the natural world and I’ve gaped and gawked at many a stirring scene.  But this time was different.  For three days in January of 2000 Tim and I experienced sunrises and sunsets so reverent that at one point I turned to Tim and whispered:  “I can’t believe I’m alive to see this.” 

By the dawn's early light.

Silhouetted Sandhills at Sunset.

         I’ve not returned to Bosque del Apache and I can’t help but wonder whether or not the birds are still abundant, the sunrises and sunsets still ablaze.  
 Readers, have you experienced a jaw-dropping sunrise or sunset?  Where was it?

Birding and sky-gazing are not the only activities at
Bosque del Apache.  This hiking trail gives visitors a taste of
 southern New Mexico's desert.


  1. Rita, I'm so taken with your descriptions of the beauty you witnessed. In particular, I admire these phrases: "burnt amber hues"; "celestial palette here on earth"; " cranes soar overhead, their prehistoric cries lingering in the air".

    You asked if any readers have experienced a jaw-dropping sunrise or sunset. Regarding sunrises, I openly admit to being a late-rising sleepy-head, and so I rarely see a sunrise!:-) In terms of sunsets, I've witnessed some beautiful displays in the mountains of NH, but nothing quite as dramatic as the images posted in your blog.

    Thanks for sharing this terrific adventure!


    1. I'm with you—I've seen many more sunsets than sunrises. But lately I haven't seen too many that qualify as "spectacular". I wonder if I'm just not in the right places?
      One thing's for sure though—if you're not out and looking, you'll never see how beautiful the sky can be at dawn and dusk!

      Thanks for your kind comments, John.

  2. Those geese and cranes know a good winter rest spot when they see it! I hope they are still abundant and enjoying nature's beauty in San Antonio, NM.

    What amazing sights - and at both ends of the day. Truly something to treasure.

    Like John, I've captured some fiery sunsets in wintertime, looking out over the White Mountains from my place in NH. Oddly, places like Greece and Costa Rica did not yield great sunrises or sunsets. I think it has to do with their proximity to the equator. Of course, one of my favorites was the sunrise over the Annapurna range in Nepal. Nothing like these, but the Himalaya manage to cast some astounding shadows at dawn!

    Thanks so much for sharing these spectacular photographs.

    1. Migrating birds do seem to find the best spots to rest; unfortunately too many humans sometimes follow them there!

      From looking at John's pictures (on his blog I can see that you New Hampshire residents have seen awesome sunsets in the White Mountains.

      It's interesting to think that there may be certain places on our planet where sunsets and sunrises are more colorful. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on this?

      Vickie, I envy you your travel to Greece, Costa Rica and Nepal! I would love to visit both Costa Rica and the Himalayan region.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

    Thanks for viewing and commenting, Manikchand!