Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Back to Bosque

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Sandhill cranes over the Bosque at sunset.

Way back in 1992, Julie was one of the two keynote speakers (the other was a guy with the initials RTP) for the Festival of the Cranes in Socorro, New Mexico. The birding at the festival was centered around Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of town. It was a life-changing trip for us because:
  • it was our first time birding together in the West
  • we got to hang out with Roger Tory Peterson (he of the initials RTP) and
  • we realized that we might actually be able to get hired to speak and lead trips at birding festivals.
Fast forward to 2006 and we're schlepping through airports with our two children in tow, heading back to the birds of Bosque.

Once again Jules is a keynote speaker. I am here to be her personal Geek Squad (to make the presentation run right) and to help lead a couple of birding trips at the refuge.

We made it into town and out to the refuge at the end of the day on Tuesday. These western sunsets go on forever, so we soaked it in, watching flights of sandhill cranes come in to roost, lines of waveys (snow geese) over the marshes, and thousands of ducks.

Phoebe seems to have taken to birding on this trip. Liam not so much, but we're lucky that there are lots of trains passing by all day long. We hooked up with Leica's own Jeff Bouton who is working the festival. And we ended the day eating green-chile cheeseburgers at the world-famous Owl Bar in San Antonio, NM.

Tradition dictates that you must sign or decorate a $1 bill and tack it to the Owl Bar walls. Phoebe, Liam, and Zick all did one. So if you get to the Owl Bar, they are in booth 23 in the back room.

It'll be a relaxing week of birding in the high desert. Much needed. Much appreciated. Wish y'all were here.


On November 15, 2006 at 4:01 PM Katie Fitzmier said...

I wish we were there too. You guys look like you're having a fantastic time. We're only sorry (except Jeff who is less sorry because he's seeing you all now!) you all weren't with us at RGV. It wasn't the same.
Someday...Take care. Great travels. Better birding! -Katie Fitzmier

On November 15, 2006 at 4:22 PM Trixie said...

Yup! Wish we were there, too! I love NM and right now it is -4F outside the house and +57F inside. Sigh...and a cool beer. Sigh....

Next trip you folks should head north. You would have a nice host family, with kids of similar ages.

And really, thanks for the long distance update. Lovely sunset to share.

On November 15, 2006 at 11:41 PM Susan Gets Native said...

How I wish I was there, too.
It's 39 degrees in OUR corner of Ohio, and it's been raining for a hundred years.
Love the what was Liam toasting with?
And the dollar bill. If I send one to J, will she do a drawing on it for me?
Soak up the sun, man. Because Ohio sucks right now.

On November 16, 2006 at 10:16 AM Rondeau Ric said...

Hmmm...BOTB, it looks like you are contributing to the delinquency of a minor with that toast, perhaps a miner as well, and defacing currency.
Perhaps you should join the Hole in the Wall gang before the gang before the policĂ­a federal catch up to you.

You get paid to do that stuff? What a deal.

Glad Phoebe is getting into birds.

Jeff thanks for letting them use your internet.

On November 16, 2006 at 11:32 AM Mary said...

The sunset is spectacular. Like that autographed bill, too!

Thanks, and enjoy!

On November 16, 2006 at 2:54 PM Keith Dowling said...

Man, I LOVE Negro Modelo beer! Think I'll leave work early today...

On November 17, 2006 at 10:24 AM Anonymous said...

I'm with Katie, I feel like I'm missing the party!

Gorgeous sunset photos.

On November 17, 2006 at 11:17 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Thanx for your comments. It's beautiful here and NM is someplace I could easily live at some future point. Birdy as all get out. Incredible landforms. Not too populated. Lots of regional flavor. Colors and light that are unique to NM. And sunsets that last a coon's age. What's not to like? Wish you were here...