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Photographing the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese of Bosque del Apache

Program Number: 19339RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/8/2014 - 1/12/2014; 1/4/2015 - 1/8/2015;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Socorro, New Mexico
Price starting at: $929.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography
Meals: 11; 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Hone your photography skills in the heart of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Learn in the field from an expert nature photographer how to capture elusive species on camera and study the etiquette followed by true enthusiasts. From the best spots, observe Sandhill Cranes, Ross’ Geese and other waterfowl as they “fly out” at sunrise and “fly in” at sunset. Personalized instruction on an array of photo techniques and equipment enhances opportunities to snap shots of Bald Eagles, porcupines, coyotes and herds of elk.




Highlights

• Benefit from “on the go” critiques by renowned nature photographer Robert Winslow.
• Use early morning and evening light to capture memorable wildlife shots, including the unforgettable sunset "fly in" and dawn "fly out."
• Witness "puffs" of thousands of Snow Geese rising into the air, sometimes within yards of you.



Activity Particulars

Walk one mile with camera, gear. Van transfers throughout. Cold, windy weather during sunrise/sunset photo shoots. Elevation 4,500-6,000 feet.



Digital camera, memory cards, extra batteries required; tripod, laptop recommended.




Date Specific Information

1-8-2014, 1-4-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Socorro

Socorro is both historically rich and surrounded by natural treasures such as the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where tens of thousands of birds gather each fall. On the banks of the Rio Grande 75 miles south of Albuquerque, the town was settled by the Spanish in 1627 and is part of a historic corridor of trade and immigration.



Accommodations
Comfortable hotel with indoor pool, hot tub.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Tim Banks

Tim Banks graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor’s in wildlife biology and a master’s in outdoor recreation. He served for many years as a police officer, retiring in 2006 as the Chief of Police of the University of Wyoming. Since retirement, Tim has pursued his love for birding and natural history. He served as president of the Laramie chapter of the Audubon Society for many years, and has conducted birding and ecology surveys for the Wyoming Fish and Game Department.
 
Robert Winslow

Robert is an internationally known nature photographer with thousands of published images and numerous awards. He holds a master's in biology and taught at Idaho State University for six years. Since moving to Durango, Colo., Robert has been a full-time freelance photographer, and his work has appeared in many books, magazines and in over 20 different calendars in one year. You can view his photos at www.robertwinslowphoto.com.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites
  Socorro, NM 4 nights
 Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: 1100 N. California St.
Socorro, NM 87801 USA
phone: 575-838-0556
web: www.bestwestern.com
  Room amenities: Cable TV, coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, work area
  Facility amenities: Fitness center, indoor pool, indoor hot tub, high speed internet
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrival and motel check-in 3- 5:00 pm. Required orientation at 5:00 pm followed by dinner. You will be staying at Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast, Check-out 10 am. You will be staying at Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk Form to be mailed back to Mountains and Plains Institute office Photographer's Questionnaire to be mailed back to Mountains and Plains Institute office Please bring your Golden Eagle/or Senior or National Access Passes.
  Parking availability:
No charge to guests
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Socorro, NM
  Nearest city or town:  Albuquerque
  Nearest highway: I 25
  Nearest airport:  Albuquerque
  From End of Program
  Location: Socorro, NM
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Socorro, NM

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Socorro Taxi
phone: 575-322-2425 x5758354276
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

90 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

75 miles

   

This is currently the only airport shuttle available and can be a bit expensive. Many people choose when flying into ABQ to rent a car and travel to other locations in New Mexico such as White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks.

 
Driving Directions
  Socorro, NM Socorro is located 78 Miles south of Albuquerque, NM and 189 miles north of El Paso, TX on Interstate 25. The Best Western is just south off Exit 150 on the east side of Hwy 60-1100 N. California St.
Elevation Note: 5,000 ft. see attached High Altitude Information Sheet

Equipment Requirements: Camera, lenses, tripod. A laptop will facilitate downloading and critiques in the field.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrivals and orientation
(Wednesday, January 8)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival and motel check-in 3- 5:00 pm. Required orientation at 5:00 pm followed by dinner.
 Dinner: Restaurant Meal
 Evening: Orientation and Introductions; Instructor will lecture on etiquette for photographing wildlife and birds, conditions to be encountered, and best techniques for expected photo shoots.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Bosque Del Apache Bird Refuge
(Thursday, January 9)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel Meal
 Morning: Based in Socorro about 20 miles away, we will arise early, have a quick breakfast and be there in time to photograph the dramatic early morning “mass ascensions” of birds. We will then spend several hours driving the loop roads and photographing birds in several locations. During the day, large flocks of Snow Geese may take off suddenly from adjoining fields. The sight and sound of thousands of birds rising up in unison is a breathtaking experience you will never forget. Using hours of morning and evening light, participants venture each day to designated photo locations. Shooting opportunities may include: sunrise photography of the sandhill cranes leaving their roost; afternoon shots of geese and cranes feeding in the fields; porcupine, coyote, wild turkey, deer, and birds of prey; and flight shots at last light. This is a field photography program with instruction occurring on location rather than formal classroom instruction.
 Lunch: Box lunch if in field or Restaurant Meal, after lunch a break will occur for rest, downloading of photos and critiques with the instructor. Critique sessions will be scheduled each day with those who want to participate.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon birdviewing and photo opportunities along Rio Grande River (prime roosting areas) or locations in Bosque del Apache Preserve, evening bird fly-in. Instructor will use best judgement as to location selected for photography depending upon location of the masses of birds that frequently move.
 Dinner: Restaurant Meal
 Evening: Wrap up for day and planning session for next day
   
Accommodations: Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge and Vicinity
(Friday, January 10)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel Meal
 Morning: Early morning flyout, locations will vary each day in the Bosque del Apache
Bosque del Apache translates as "Woods of the Apache". Native Americans often camped at this river-side forest, and the area was occupied by Pueblo Peoples for centuries before the Spanish explorers established the Camino Real (the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe) in the sixteenth century. The Camino Real ran right through the present-day Refuge.
 Lunch: Box lunch if in field or Restaurant Meal, after lunch a break will occur for rest, downloading of photos and critiques with the instructor. Critique sessions will be scheduled each day with those who want to participate.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon travel to Rio Grande River Valley and/or Bosque del Apache for evening bird fly-in. The Refuge is an important wintering home for Sandhill Cranes, and will host as many as 14,000 during the winter months. Cranes will begin arriving in November, and will leave as late as the end of February, heading for Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge for a month or two before migrating onwards to Greys' Lake, Idaho, their breeding grounds.
 Dinner: Restaurant Meal
 Evening: Wrap up for day and planning session for next day
   
Accommodations: Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Bosque del Apache and Vacinity
(Saturday, January 11)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel Meal
 Morning: Early morning flyout, locations will vary each day in the Bosque del Apache. As well as Sandill Cranes, The Bosque is also home to over 32,000 Snow Geese and Ross Geese, dozens of Bald Eagles and Goldens, Great Blue Herons, Occasional Pelicans, Avocets, and many, many other birds. Small herds of Mule Deer and families of Coyotes are also at home on this beautiful refuge.
 Lunch: Box lunch if in field or Restaurant Meal, after lunch a break will occur for rest, downloading of photos and critiques with the instructor. Critique sessions will be scheduled each day with those who want to participate.
 Afternoon: Late afternoon travel to birding sites depending upon bird locations and then return to Bosque del Apache for evening bird fly-in. Seeing the sunset "Fly In" and the dawn "Fly Out" is an experience you will never forget! If you are lucky you can also see what we call "Puffs" of Snow Geese, thousands rising into the air, sometimes within 10- 20 feet of you. The sound of wings and the sound of geese talking is a fantastic, primordial experience, guaranteed to "wow" you out of your worries and "wow" you out of your own body, and guaranteed to lift your soul to join them.
 Dinner: Restaurant Meal
 Evening: Wrap up for day and week, share and critique photos
   
Accommodations: Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Check-out after breakfast
(Sunday, January 12)
   
 Breakfast: Hotel Meal
 Morning: Check-out after Breakfast
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge- A Photographer's and Visitor's Guide


Author: Ralph H. Wetmore II


Description: This book is a compilation of over 15 years of photographic trips to the refuge. Photographs of many species of birds, some mammals, and beautiful scenes provide wonderful insight into the refuge. Become even more familiar with many of the wonders present at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico with this guide in hand.





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