On the nature of nature

We spent Saturday at the Bosque del Apache, a wildlife refuge south of Albuquerque. It’s early in the season for the well-known sandhill crane wintering grounds, but in addition to cranes we saw mobs of pintails, a cormorant, a family of grebes (I’m reasonably certain they were westerns, though they’re tough to tell at a distance from Clark’s) and a hilarious flock of flying killdeer.

The winter juncos are starting to arrive, and we kept seeing marsh hawks on patrol.

It’s a spectacular place, but in a piece over the weekend in the Socorro paper, refuge assistant director Aaron Mize reminds us that it’s anything but natural:

Mize said, as a land manager, he was also struck by all the comments about the beautiful “natural” environment of the Bosque.

“Anyone that’s familiar with what we do at the Bosque knows what we do is anything but natural — what we do is mimic a natural environment,” Mize said. “I would almost dare to bet we move more dirt than any other refuge in the country. There are 340 days per year I bet we’ve got tractors and bulldozers moving dirt, making it happen.”