|2012 Festival of the Cranes, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM|
Last week I mentioned the multitude of birds we see around here, including sandhill cranes which fly in formations over our place daily and feed in the recently plowed farm fields nearby.
They -- and many other birds -- winter in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge out of San Antionio, about 60 miles south and west along the banks of the Rio Grande. Every year the Friends of the Bosque (Anglos say "Boss-key," everyone else says "Bohz-kay") hosts the week-long Festival of the Cranes, one of the most elaborate international gatherings of bird-watchers and naturalists and citizens I've ever imagined. There are so many activities and events through the week that it's easy to get exhausted just reading the list (pdf). The brochure (pdf) is 44 pages long.
So we're going to do some of the events today -- heading out to the Bosque this morning to see the birds (though most if not all of the cranes will already be gone by the time we get there -- many will be feeding nearby our home to the north -- there should still be a good many other birds on the waters) then out to the Very Large Array west of Socorro (a destination we've failed to reach several times previously), then back to the Bosque in the afternoon when some of the cranes should be returning, then in the evening, we're planning to head to a star party at the observatories at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.
I suspect it will be a very full day.
The first outfit we joined after we moved here was Friends of the Bosque, something we've been intending to do in any case, but once we saw the hundreds and hundreds of cranes flying over this place, it seemed like a sign to get with it. They are magnificent birds in flight or on the ground, and all the other bird-life in these parts is amazing. People around here adore the birds, and even though there are lots of feral cats and other predators about, the birds seem to flourish in great numbers. The grackles are some of our favorites, especially when they're dancing! (Most people consider them pests, but we like their constant cheery attitudes... and of course their songs!)
There is also a prairie dog village next to the community center up the road from our place; it is quite extensive and seems to be expanding into another field across the road. That would be something because in many places prairie dogs (aka: "American Meerkats") are in decline.While I used to see the creatures when I passed by, I haven't seen any since we got here in October, and I need to find out what's happened. I hope it wasn't eradicated.
We're still unpacking, of course, and we're still in the midst of the outrages of The Saga of Refinancing Our Home. This has been going on since June, and the latest word we got was "we hope to close your loan by the end of November! Isn't that wonderful?!" Yeah, right. How many times have I heard something like that? I have hesitated to write about it for the simple reason that it is off topic, but the upshot has more than a little to do with why the People's Economy, as opposed to that of the corporate and financial sector, is in such desperate straits.
In a word: Incompetence. But there's also a great deal of... well, let's let it marinate for a bit longer.
The stories I could tell.
But that's for another time.