Archive for the ‘Bernardo’ Category

Bye to the cranes. . . for now

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Pictures from the last day of crane watching. You frequently see short-lived altercations between cranes, as seen in the second picture. They don’t last long, one walks away. It may be a personal space issue.

Geese coming in to drink and bathe in the water near the cranes.

A quail enjoying the sun after a night of freezing temps.

Below, bugling cranes. This is when fights often occur, as one crane interloper enters a family unit.

Still with the cranes

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Sandhill cranes at the Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area north of Socorro, New Mexico.

Not many geese here, but there are supposed to be 20,000 of them at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where I will shortly be heading.

Last year when I was here helicopter refueling flights took place over where I was staying. Saw it again this year. There are military bases all over New Mexico. Assume these are training flights.

A crane doing it’s version of dancing on a cold morning. It has been in the 20′s a lot of the nights here. Warms up enough during the day so the furnace is just needed at night.

Fields of sun baked corn in parched soil alternate with fields of alfalfa at Bernardo Waterfowl Management area. There is no flooded field or pond on the bird viewing road this year, which is disappointment. The cranes roost in water for safety and it’s fun watching their fly-in.

Into the corn

Friday, November 27th, 2009



Went back to Kiva RV Park & Horse Motel for a few days. The cranes and geese have finally arrived in force at Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area that is right across from the park.

Cranes usually will not go into a corn field because of the threat of predators. Corn stalks are pulled down for them, sections at a time. This year at Bernardo, however, the cranes were going into one field in a mass assault. This is disappointing for photographers in that you can’t see the action. The cranes are most active and photogenic when they are eating. When standing around just outside the corn stalks they are resting and not very active.

Geese joined the cranes in the morning, but not in the afternoon.

I went into one corn field out of curiosity. The ground is bone dry and the stalks break like dry twigs. When I walked out of the field, some cranes across the road were watching me. After I drove down the road they walked over to check out where I had been. This was a small group waiting for the stalks to be pulled down.


Mule deer grazing with the cranes in the late afternoon.


Have become very fond of the horses and donkeys at the rv park. The horse on the right is the alpha horse of that corral. I was visiting with the donkey next to him and he came over and bit the donkey on the neck to make him run away. The donkey’s have their own weapon. When I walked fast along the fence, the donkey started to run in my direction while kicking his back legs to keep the horse away. There are 3 or 4 other horses and donkeys in that corral who always stay in the background and don’t want to mess with the alpha horse. The little male donkey, however, takes his place right  along side of him.


Wanting some treats.




Socorro, New Mexico

Monday, November 9th, 2009



I have returned to the Socorro, New Mexico area to see the sandhill cranes. A little dismayed that I arrived a little early. The Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area that I visit prior to moving on to the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge has some cranes, but nothing like I saw last year. They flood some fields with water around November 15th and that brings in a lot of cranes and geese. I am moving on to Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in a few days. I’ll have one week, then the Festival of the Cranes starts with the attendant crowds. So being early getting to the area has complicated things. Oh well.

When I left Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona, had planned on stopping at Homolovi Ruins State Park near Winslow, Arizona. Found that they have closed the camping area there and just have it as a day use park certain days of the week. At my next planned stop, Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico, found it closed for the season. While many rest areas in Arizona have been closed due to budget cuts, the ones in New Mexico are open. Ended up staying one night at the New Mexico Visitor Center in Gallup.

Have stayed close to a week at the Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel that I have stayed at in the past. They rescue horses, donkeys and other animals. Last year when I fed carrots and apples to some of the donkeys, the brown horse in the top picture bit me on the shoulder. The two horses looked so robust and healthy I hadn’t given them any of the treats. Didn’t make that mistake this time. Both horses followed me around the corral wanting more.

The “largest donkey in the world” is still there and doing well (second picture).


A Eurasian collared-dove on a fountain at the rv park.


A coyote watching for movement in some brush at Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area. There are sandhill cranes in the background at the top of the picture.


Bernardo, New Mexico

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

From Winslow, I drove the almost 300 miles to Bernardo, New Mexico. It is a spot on the map around 25 miles north of Socorro, New Mexico. A Passport America rv park is here and right across from it is the Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area. It is lesser known and less crowded than the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge that is south of Socorro.

When I arrived here a movie crew from a tv series called In Plain Sight was using the rv park as their base station. The rv park is on old route 66 and they were shooting scenes on a bridge a short distance from the park. They worked through the night and left the next morning.

Geese flying in to line up along the corn. The sandhill cranes like to hunt in areas where the corn stalks have recently been cleared, but geese line up along the corn stalks.

Below are short clips of the geese and sandhill cranes.

The people who own the Kiva RV Park & Horse Hotel that I am staying at rescue animals, lots of animals. Most all the animals that I saw when I stayed here in October 2007 are still here and doing well.

The owner of the park is pictured above with a huge donkey he recently rescued. The young brown donkey in the second picture was hand raised after its mother rejected it. He walked up to me as soon as I went over to the horse area. The young white donkey was put in with him to help teach him how to be a donkey.

I was surprised to learn that a lot of donkey’s will try to stomp and kill dogs. This is from instincts learned in dealing with coyotes.