Island Light with Ducks

retreating mallards on the Rio Grande

Just outside of Orilla Verde (BLM), a hop and a skip from beautiful downtown Pilar

Mallards on the Rio Grande… What many wouldn’t realize is that this scene is down inside a canyon. Just a short way from here, the cliffs are 800 feet high! That means it’s sheltered from the wind and warmer just from being lower. The rocks hold and give off a little heat, the river adds humidity, and what we have is an ecologically unique more temperate zone along the river. A river at the bottom of a rift, where the tectonic plates are pulling apart.

We see lots of waterfowl there this time of year: Canada geese, buffleheads, mallards, and other ducks. Sometimes there are eagles, and I’ve seen a few herons. How can this not impress, in the middle of the terrible high desert?

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  • Ken Webb January 9, 2013, 1:34 PM

    These are beautiful pictures, my friend, accompanied by nicely concrete descriptive prose. However, I confess (I reckon it’s old Satan at work in me) that I have a fondness for and miss JHF the crusty and curmudgeonly, JHF the agonized and storm-torn, who once rampaged in all his outsized glory in the old blog. Has there been an invasion of the body snatchers there in the New Mexico uplands? Mellowness is okay in small quantities, but we ornery humans can’t take too much of the stuff. It gums up our working parts.

    • JHF January 9, 2013, 4:25 PM

      Did you read this? I guess we can say I’m not “agonized and storm-torn” any more, at least not in the old self-destructive way, and I realized I was no longer the story. Hey man, this is progress! Don’t worry, I’m still me, just a little smarter.

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