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Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge,
9 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico.

Tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes, snow
geese and a myriad of other birds and wildlife
make these wetlands home throughout the
year.  Intrepid birders who brave below-zero
temperatures to arrive an hour before winter
sunrise, are rewarded with a mass fly-out – 
the snow geese taking the first shift.  With the
first light of dawn, thousands of geese take off
in unison – your senses completely overtaken
by the cacophony of sound as they call to one
another, while wind created from their flapping
wings creates a breeze across your face.

Frozen feet and hands quickly take a backseat
as you revel in this magical moment.  Even the
seasoned, done-this-before, professional
wildlife photographers with lenses 4-5 ft long,
are energized by this daybreak phenomenon
as the snow geese recede into the distance.

In the few minutes that follow, the sun's rays
begin to peak over the horizon.   A lull has
enveloped the marsh.  The Sandhill Cranes are
getting ready for their equally impressive
departure; but, for the moment, there is a
peaceful and palpable quiet.


Sandhill Cranes At Sunrise

    "Sandhill Cranes At Sunrise"
© 2012  Cathy Gazda
   Acrylic on Canvas Panel - 7 x 5 inches

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