We rolled into the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico two weeks ago. Our spot at the volunteer area has a nice view of the refuge. Here's an early a.m. shot of the bright peach skies over the mountains and the steamy fog floating on the pond. The early light isn't good, but you can get the idea.
These first two weeks were both interesting and active. Since we arrived ahead of our scheduled time, we thought perhaps there wouldn't be much for us to do as volunteers for a while. Oh no! Nancy got to work learning to be the assistant for the Outdoor Recreation Planner, assisting with tours and volunteer logistics, training sessions, etc. Jerry has been occupied with various projects, such as taking the many government vehicles on the premises for oil changes. He will soon be running a slope mower on the miles of irrigation channels on the refuge. There's just a "certification" requirement for the government. But, we are confident that will all be handled soon. There are a wide variety of volunteer jobs on the refuge, all working in unison with the staff. It's nice to be providing some worthwhile service.
Another fun part of the volunteering adventure is the people and places that surround it. Here we get to revisit a few folks that we met four years ago in our first venue at the Bosque. As well as, we'll meet a new group of volunteers arriving soon for the winter here.
Last weekend we enjoyed an afternoon at the Socorro Fest with new friends, Joe and Bonnie Nemmers. Here's a handsome threesome hanging out in downtown Socorro.
The four of us drove the 20 miles from the refuge to take in the music and have a few libations. The New Mexico wineries and breweries provided fine refreshments, the company was pleasant and the music was fantastic. As in numerous other venues, we were once again amazed. There are tons of talented people hidden in small towns everywhere we travel. From the harmonica contestants we enjoyed during our lunch at the Stage Door restaurant to the blues band entertaining in the gazebo of the town square, it was a super musical interlude!
Then it was back to the serenity of the refuge. Just some coyotes howling and the occasional train in the distance. It's pretty quiet for now.
But, just as we have traveled to our spot for the coming months, the fine-feathered creatures are flying-in daily. Even for those of us who are not avid birders, it's fun to see the population multiply. The squawks of the gangly Sandhill Cranes are beginning to echo around the refuge. There are only a few hundred right now but they will soon be in the thousands. As will the snow geese.
In this last photo I think you might be able to barely see the small flock in the distance. This expanse will soon be a much different scene filled with other two-legged friends.