Festivals of Cranes

Just a few days after my week in New York, I visited the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Albuquerque in New Mexico. The refuge was established in 1975 for migratory birds coming from the Northern part of America and Canada. Now it is a place where about 12,000 sandhill cranes, 70,000 snow geese, over 40,000 ducks, and over 300 other varieties of bird spend their winter days. Witnessing the wildlife was pure magic.







In early morning, the air is filled by the screeching sounds of cranes and geese before their take off to the feeding fields nearby. Like a huge wave with a thundering sound, the snow geese leave the safe water all at once. The sandhill cranes follow, taking off in small groups. Witnessing the change from night to day is spectacular. I tried to capture the atmosphere, but did not succeed to portray the full beauty.








The snow geese are the first to leave their nightly resting place. Like a huge wave with a thundering sound, they leave the safe water all at once.






Sandhill cranes follow them. They leave in small groups.






During the migration season in the fall, many fields are flooded with water in order to imitate the original marshland.






Two adult sandhill cranes performing a dance.







Watching and making photos of the birds requires being totally in the moment. Maybe this is one of the reasons so many bird lovers are visiting the Refuge with their big cameras.

























During the day, the sandhill cranes feed in fields surrounded by golden cotton wood trees. Other wildlife can be observed too – like herons, coyotes, deer and javalenas.













Seeing the elegance of cranes flying in the sky makes it understandable that the crane is a symbol of freedom and peace in Asia. Their ability to fly high in the sky, walk in shallow water and stand on earth makes them a very special bird. Fossils of cranes dating back millions of years make them even more special. Maybe, this is the reason that they also symbolize longlivity in Japan.







This heron was undisturbed by my presence.



Sunsets are as spectacular as the dawn. Down below you see the pink sky reflected in the water.












In the evening, we saw a group of roaming javelinas.  They chased up a turkey hiding in the grass behind.




At the time when we were listening to the voice of the birds, 27 satellites in the Very Large Array listened to radio waves coming from outer space. The VLA is the  world’s most powerful radio telescope for use by scientist all over the world. The VLA is able to capture radio waves travelling for billion of years across the vastness of space. The views from each of the 27 active antennas are connected to a supercomputer which merges the views into a single, most powerful telescope.







Each dish measures 82 feet across, is made out of aluminum panels and weighs 100 tons. They are moved by motorised drives  on railroad tracks covering 82 miles







Seven of 27 satellite dishes






The satellites are supersensitive. It is not allowed to use a cellphone or any other electronic devices near them.



We also visited Window Rock, the capital of the Navaho Nation.  The town and its surroundings are a pure treasure and undiscovered by tourists. Hopefully, it can preserve its beauty in the future.






Window Rock, a sacred area.











I am not sure if this area is open for hiking – the land belongs to the Navajo people. I took the photos while driving through this gorgeous landscape. It was an about 800km drive back to Phoenix, Arizona. We drove it in one day.



Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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