Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Short Winter Storm

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

As promised, the first winter storm hit the area Thanksgiving evening. Snow fell, but melted almost immediately because the ambient temperature was just above the freezing point. Friday morning, snow fell again. All gone. Typical New Mexico snowstorm.

Winter is the season when migrating birds populate the Rio Grande valley. Time for a road-trip!

So what’s wrong with this picture?

This is a U.S. Marine Corps AV8-B Harrier II, on its first deployment with the U.S Navy on the U.S.S. Belleaue Wood in 1987. This aircraft, built by McDonnell Douglas / British Aerospace has the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine. It has vertical take-off and landing capabilities.

This is a Harrier Hawk at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, eight miles south of San Antonio on the Camino Real.

I instantly understood why the airplane was named the Harrier. Not only does the airplane look somewhat like the bird in flight, when it lands, the plane mimics the bird. As it approaches its landing site, the bird radically shifts its wings halting its forward momentum. At about three to four feet above the ground, it partially folds its wings and drops to the ground.

The 20th annual Festival of the Cranes was held Nov. 13-18. It apparently is a big deal for the City of Socorro, with events including: parades, tours, exhibits, lectures, food and music. But it’s about the birds.

Here, a duck surfaces after diving for food underwater.

It is a nice trip on a sunny day. Admission is $3 per car or you can use your National Park pass; it’s the $40 worth of gas that’ll get you. Bring your binoculars and be prepared to marvel at the huge lenses of the really serious amateur and professional bird photographers. They are a milder bunch than the hard-bitten sports photographers you find on sidelines, yet some of the same banter is exchanged. “I got the shot!”

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