Skywatch Friday – Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

During some free time that I had in September attending my 50th high school reunion in Albuquerque I made my way down to the Rio Grande River bosque to visit the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park. A bosque is the woodlands and land adjacent to riparian streams and rivers. I’ve only heard the term used in New Mexico. Bosque’s are rich in wildlife and plants and after being neglected for years are now being preserved and restored.

I lived in Albuquerque from 1971 until I graduated from college in 1977. The whole time I lived there I never visited the bosque. Part of the reason is geography. I lived in the northeast heights where it seemed most other so called Anglos lived. The north and south valley of the Rio Grande river was considered kind of rough territory to visit. It all seems kind of ridiculous to me now and I feel bad about missing a great opportunity.

I went to do some hiking a little bit of geocaching and mainly just explore and see what was there. There were several serious bird watchers in the park. You know, they have binoculars, notebooks, and cameras with big lens and they have infinite patience staying in one place for a long time before moving on. Hey I admire them but I am not temperamentally suited for such things. I like moving.

I found me a tiny little nanocache. There were others out there but they were off trail quite a ways and there all sorts of signs asking people to stay on the trails. I didn’t want to be “that guy.”


One could tell that they had used fire or other vegetation clearing method to open up the woods.

These big metal things are Jack Jetties or Kellen Jetties. The Corps of Engineers placed tens of thousands of these things all up and down the river. They are meant to stabilize the banks and keep the river in its channel. They, along with some dams, worked too well. The river never flooded into its floodplain rejuvenating the soil and drowning out invasive species. The Corps has removed many of the jetties and that has heled the bosque revive.

A big bird watching area is this pond right by the visitor center. They had a large hummingbird feeder that rotated over the pond and I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds. I couldn’t get a good angle on the hummingbirds but you can see the Sandia Mountains off far away. You can see them from all parts of town.

My walk took me right by the Rio Grande River a couple times. Here the river is on the far side of this “beach.”

And here, the river is right by the bank.

So I walked and moseyed about three miles and enjoyed myself very much. The park integrates with an extensive walking/biking trail that goes along the river for miles and connects several attractions. I would sure like to return and explore the area some more.

24 thoughts on “Skywatch Friday – Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

  1. Lisa

    I learned something new today, “bosque.” You do seem to find geocaches wherever you go! I like the idea of a “moseyed” walk. Sounds so much more relaxing that a “hike”!

  2. tomthebackroadstraveller

    …I LOVE the birdy, but I’m not man enough to swing the racket!. We were in the Adirondacks and met a family geocaching.

  3. Peter B.

    The Rio Grande fascinates me, may be because of all those westerns I watched as a kid. I’ve heard the word bosque but never knew what it meant. Nice post!

  4. Linda

    I’m jealous. I just can’t walk more than a mile without horrible foot pain. I’m going back to the podiatrist next month, but he can only help so much.

  5. Eileen

    This park is on my wish list of places to visit soon. I would love to see all those hummingbirds.
    Pretty photos of the trees, trail and the river. Take care, have a great day and happy weekend!

  6. Kirsi

    Rio Grande – I know the River it from the the Movie with John Wayne, this river is really big and broad – the Name is right,

  7. Patrick Prescott

    I don’t think this area was a biological park back then. They had a grassy park with parking, but after too many fights, knifings and shootings closed it down. When they built the Aquarium the city decided to add the bio park. Great photos.

  8. Alana

    You always find interesting things no matter where you are. The words bosque and jack jetties are now added to my vocabulary. The jack jetties are what I like to call “unintended consequences” – something done because people mean well but they cause more harm than good. Happy that they are being removed. Wish you could have gotten a good hummingbird shot but I know how difficult that can be.

  9. JM Illinois U.S.A.

    I too mosey around or I’ll be quick like a bunny. Glad you weren’t that person and stayed on the trails. I remember that a neighbor boy got caught in the quicksand which is near the Rio Grande. He lived but it could have been a tragic situation.

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