We took a day trip to see if we could see the sandhill cranes, snow geese and other migratory birds that overwinter here. Jeff doesn't like being anywhere at sunrise so we didn't get to see the morning bird lift off but we tried to see them come back at sunset. The refuge is near Socorro so it takes a couple hours to get down there. We scoped out the visitor's center and drove the loop stopping at one area to do a little walk about. The ground was a little sticky/caky due to recent snow but the day was gloriously sunny and warmish. A nice day to walk a little!
The refuge is 57,000 acres (give or take) and it is at the northern edge of the Chihuahuan desert along the Rio Grande river. It is surrounded by the Chupadera and San Pascual mountains. The water is diverted into wetlands, riparian zones and farmlands with channels in dammed up areas. Not much was going on during the hot part of the day so we went back to Socorro for lunch and then returned hoping to see birds fly in at sunset.
Not many birds (compared to other years) were around but I found myself mainly fascinated with all the reflections of grasses and twigs and mountains. The water was like glass and as the sun set the colors and reflections were spectacular and very beautiful. Some cranes did fly in but I was mainly interested in the colors on the water! We did see ravens, a group of peccary (javelinas), roadrunners, some mule deer and lots of ducks. Next time we will go in the morning or at sunset and just sit in one place for an hour or more before sun rise or set. Any way, I did take some photos of the area. It is very nice and deserves a yearly trip.