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New Mexico: Bosque del Apache to Santa Fe
From Saturday, February 17, 2018
To Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sandhill Crane scene. Photo by Rick Taylor. Copyright <strong><strong>Borderland Tours</strong></strong>. All rights reserved.

Every winter tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese gather in the stubble fields flanking the Río Grande in central New Mexico at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. They are joined by thousands of Canada Geese and enormous flocks of wild ducks. The spectacle of cranes and waterfowl darkening the orange evening skies as they return to roost at the Bosque is renowned as one of the most thrilling experiences available to birdwatchers in the U.S. This is only one highlight of our tour through the “Land of Enchantment,” the fifth largest state in the union and the best living symbol of both our pre-Colombian and Spanish colonial heritage. Although less well known, New Mexico also supports the fifth largest avifauna of the United States. Our leisurely, week-long tour will wander up the Río Grande Valley from Las Cruces to Santa Fe, skipping into the southwest corner to search for such specialty birds as Bridled Titmouse, Mexican Jay, and Acorn Woodpecker, and detouring up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings, a 42 room apartment complex constructed in the 13th century by the people of the Mogollon culture. Late winter is an excellent time of the year to see New Mexico’s array of raptors, some already commencing courtship and nesting. Among the species at the cliff dwellings are both Bald and Golden Eagles. Nearby desert valleys host literally hundreds of Red-tails and American Kestrels, and occasional Ferruginous Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Prairie Falcons. February also marks the onset of nuptial activities for both Crissal and Curve-billed Thrashers, Gambel’s Quail, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Verdin, and many other desert dwellers. After two nights at Silver City, a charming little frontier town with a mountain top university, and another two nights at Socorro, savoring bird-filled sunrises and sunsets, we transfer to Santa Fe, the New Mexico state capital and, of course, arts capital of the entire United States. Established in 1610 as the provincial seat for New Spain, the city plaza that fronts Don Pedro de Peralta’s Palace of the Governors is still in use, nowadays a mecca for Native American vendors. Field excursions outside the small city, population 70,000, will lead us to the ruins at Pecos National Monument, Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, and up into the nearby mountains. Some of the birds we hope to see include Rough-legged Hawk, Lewis’ Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Black-billed Magpie, and Townsend’s Solitaire, as well as other boreal specialists from the high Rockies. There is even a possibility of Northern Shrike and breeding-plumaged McCown’s and Chestnut-collared Longspurs. If this birding excursion to the birthplace of Southwest culture sounds intriguing, we invite you to join us as we explore the mosaic of deserts, mountains and watercourses that create the land of contrasts that is New Mexico.

Leader:  John Yerger

Cost of New Mexico: Bosque del Apache to Santa Fe includes all meals, accommodations, entrance fees, and transportation beginning in El Paso, TX and ending in Albuquerque, NM—$2795.

(Note: most major airlines will ticket arrival in El Paso and departure from Albuquerque for the same fare as a roundtrip ticket.)

TO REGISTER: Print out a PDF Registration Form, call us at (520) 558-2351 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See also: Arizona Winter Specialties (December 3-9, 2017 OR December 2-8, 2018)

Photo: Sandhill Crane scene
Photo by: Rick Taylor

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