Sandhill Cranes, Part 1

On Sunday, I got to do something I’ve been wanting to do for years–photograph the Sandhill Crane migration. Someday, I’d like to go to the Platte River in Nebraska to see the spring migration, but that’s a bigger trip than I would find easy in the spring. So I was excited to learn years ago that you can see them during the fall migration in places like Crex Meadows in Wisconsin, and Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota.

Even so, in order to see them, you need to get up early and be there at sunrise. I’m a morning person in general, but when I say that, I mean I like to wake up with the sun. Not before it. It’s enough of a downside that I’ve never quite brought myself to get up a few hours before dawn so I can see the cranes at sunrise. Until yesterday.

I set my alarm for four AM, and joined a tour at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. I’m still tired, but it was worth it. It will take a few sessions to go through all of the shots I took. I shot around 1,250 frames, and that’s a lot to sort through. So I’ll post as I process a batch. Here are the first ones of the morning.

It was beautiful out there…the sort of place I wish I lived:

SandhillCranes_0020_sm

Here they come:

SandhillCranes_0079_smb

For some reason, I was picturing the whole flock taking off around the same time. Instead, they leave in small groups:

SandhillCranes_0019_sm

Some of the first birds to leave came quite close. This pair circled around to fly overhead:

SandhillCranes_0026_sm

Things were pretty slow at first, so I amused myself with more shots of the fog:

SandhillCranes_0022_sm

Looks serene, doesn’t it? A peaceful morning…sort of. It was far from quiet, as there were three thousand cranes out there, and a good number of them were making noise. I’m pretty sure the biologist said that was because there was a group of us there. I’d like to go back alone sometime and keep a low profile. Just sit along the road where everyone was standing and stay still and quiet, to see what it’s like then.

Advertisements

About Amy Hunter

Amy Hunter is an avid gardener and occasional photographer.
This entry was posted in Birds and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s