19339
Socorro
Photographing the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese of Bosque del Apache
Come to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to observe stunning species in their natural habitats and join an expert nature photographer to learn how to take the perfect shot.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19339RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,149
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
5 days
4 nights
11 meals
4 B 3 L 4 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Socorro, NM
D
Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby, to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. In the hotel meeting room, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a field photography program with instruction occurring on location rather than in the classroom. Our instructors will discuss etiquette for photographing wildlife and birds, conditions likely to be encountered, and best techniques for expected photo shoots. Using hours of morning and evening light, we will venture each day to designated photo locations. Opportunities may include sunrise photography of 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. Instructors will use their best judgement to select shooting sites depending on local conditions including location of the masses of birds that move frequently. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Bosque Del Apache Bird Refuge
Socorro, NM
B,L,D
Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites

Activity note: Getting in/out of a van. The drive to Bosque del Apache is about 20 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1/2 mile with camera equipment in morning and evening photo shoots; short walks at observation platforms and paths during the day.

Breakfast: Early in the hotel at the hotel, choose from a breakfast buffet with choices such as oatmeal, a selection of cereals, English muffins, Belgian waffles, bagels, pastries, and assorted fresh fruit, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: We’ll rise early, have a quick breakfast, and be on location in time to photograph the dramatic early morning “mass ascensions” of birds. Instructors will offer guidance and recommendations before and during the photo shoots. We’ll 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, memorable experience.

Lunch: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, we’ll have time to download photos and have critiques by appointment with the instructor. We’ll set out for late afternoon birdviewing and photo opportunities that may be along prime roosting areas of the Rio Grande River before arriving at our instructors’ selected Bosque del Apache Preserve evening fly-in locations.

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu.

Evening: We’ll gather for a wrap up of the day and planning session for tomorrow.

DAY
3
Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge & Vicinity
Socorro, NM
B,L,D
Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites

Activity note: Getting in/out of a van. The drive to Bosque del Apache is about 20 miles, 1/2 hour Walking up to 1/2 mile with camera equipment in morning and evening photo shoots; short walks at observation platforms and paths during the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll set out again to see and photograph early morning flyout at locations in the Bosque del Apache. Locations will vary each day in the Bosque del Apache Refuge. Bosque del Apache translates as “Woods of the Apache.” Native Americans often camped at this riverside forest, and the area was occupied by Pueblo Peoples for centuries before Spanish explorers established the Camino Real — the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe — in the 16th century. The Camino Real ran right through the present-day Refuge.

Lunch: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, we’ll have time to download photos and have critiques by appointment with the instructor. In the late afternoon, we’ll 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 begin arriving in November and 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 their breeding grounds in Greys’ Lake, Idaho.

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu.

Evening: We’ll have our wrap up of the day and planning session for tomorrow.

DAY
4
Bosque del Apache & Vacinity
Socorro, NM
B,L,D
Best Western Socorro Hotel and Suites

Activity note: Getting in/out of a van. The drive to Bosque del Apache is about 20 miles, approximately 1/2 hour Walking for up to 1/2 mile with camera equipment in morning and evening photo shoots; short walks at observation platforms and paths during the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll set out again to see and photograph early morning flyout at locations in the Bosque del Apache. In addition to Sandill Cranes, the Bosque is also home to more than 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: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, we’ll have time to download photos and have critiques by appointment with the instructor. We’ll travel in the late afternoon travel to birding sites depending on bird locations, then return to Bosque del Apache for evening bird fly-in. Seeing the sunset “Fly In” and the dawn “Fly Out” is an experience never to be forgotten. If we’re lucky, we may also see what we call “puffs” of Snow Geese, thousands rising into the air, sometimes within 10- 20 feet of where we are. The sound of wings and the sound of geese talking is a fantastic, primordial experience that will “wow” us out of our worries, out of our own bodies, and lift our souls to join them.

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll get together for our wrap up of day, the program, and to share and critique photos. Then prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
5
Program Concludes
Socorro, NM
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!