Giving Back to our Beloved Bosque

We have spent many enjoyable hours wandering through Albuquerque’s bosque, the riverside wooded area along both sides of the Rio Grande. Some areas of it we can walk to from our apartment, other areas that are further away we access by first driving to a parking area, and still others we enjoy as part of a bike ride. This morning we had an opportunity to put in some time working on improvements to the bosque, as part of the city’s 21st annual Dia del Rio (Day of the River) event.

The area of the bosque chosen for this year’s event is one that we pass by every time that we ride our bikes across the Rio Grande on the bike trail that parallels Paseo del Norte. We glance at it on the south side of the trail as we ride by, but we had never taken the time to walk through it. After spending the morning working there and realizing how extensive it is, I think we will walk there more often in the future.

Bike trail parallel to Paseo del Norte that we use when crossing the Rio Grande.
Bike trail parallel to Paseo del Norte that we use when crossing the Rio Grande.
View of bisque from the bike trail.
View of bosque from the bike trail.
View of the Rio Grande we see when we cross at Paseo del Norte on the bike trail.
View of the Rio Grande we see when we cross at Paseo del Norte on the bike trail.

Dia del Rio event participants had half a dozen projects to choose from, including trail maintenance, trash pickup and revegetation. I thought trash pickup would be about my speed, but with Lee’s encouragement, we joined one of the groups doing a revegetation project. The project was in an area that had been a temporary road through the bosque, but was now being replanted with native shrubs to restore it (hopefully) to its original, natural state.

Gathering at the registration booth.
Gathering at the registration booth.
Setting out the pots of shrubs.
Setting out the pots of shrubs.
Demo by city employee.
Demo by city employee.
Lee hard at work.
Lee hard at work.
Water truck made sure to give each newly-planted shrub a good first soaking.
Water truck made sure to give each newly-planted shrub a good first soaking.
A new 1/4-mile section of this trail was built as one of the projects.
A new 1/4-mile section of this trail was built as one of the projects.

Closing ceremony included a raffle.  We both had winning tickets--free entree at local restaurants.
Closing ceremony included a raffle. We each had a winning ticket–free entree at local restaurants.

The physical effort expended in this morning’s work was more than paid back to us by all that we enjoyed. And even if only one of the dozen or so shrubs that I put in the ground survives, it will have been worth it because that one shrub can grow up and reproduce many more.

Unlocking Nature’s Mysteries

0208141609
What is going on here?

After so many cold, wintery days it was wonderful yesterday to enjoy springlike weather with a walk on some of the nature trails in the Bosque along the Rio Grande River near our house. Besides the pleasure of being outside, we were treated to a natural phenomena that for a time had us wondering what it was that we were seeing.
0208141606

When we got out of our car in the parking lot we noticed swarms of small insects flying around us and crawling on the ground and sidewalks. It reminded me of those times when you happen to be by the water somewhere and there is a hatch of mayflies that cause the fish to jump up in a feeding frenzy. But we weren’t by the water yet at that point in our walk.

After strolling around for a mile or two on the trails along the river and through the Bosque we again began to notice the flying insect swarms. And this time we also noticed that on the soft, muddy spots of the trail there would be large groups of the insects gathered in a cluster. We bent down and looked closer and were fascinated to see that in the center of the clusters there were small holes in the ground and the winged insects were climbing out of the holes. Not only that, but there were larvae or worms crawling out of the holes, too. That’s what I captured in this video, if you have the patience to watch for a minute.

Anyway, it was fun to observe this mystery of nature. And then when we got home and did some research we think that what we were seeing was a hatching and swarming of flying ants, brought out by the sudden warming trend in the weather. Interesting to read about the behavior of ant colonies and the short-lived life cycle of the flying ants.