Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sandhill Cranes

Every winter huge flocks of sandhill cranes migrate through, and some spend the winter in, Madison County in north Florida. We live very near one of the fields where they congregate. On Christmas morning hundreds of cranes, in several flocks, flew over or nearby our house, making quite a racket in the process (it was very cool). It was pouring rain at the time and so while we suspected they were in one of the fields just through the woods from our house, there was no way we were going to go in search of them.

And then this afternoon we could hear them calling again. So we tramped through the woods, getting snagged on all the briars and brambles as we made our way through the low thickets to the field.

We spotted a small group some distance away near one of the many bound bales of peanut vines that were scattered about. Too far to get a good picture, particularly at 4 pm on an extremely gray and overcast day. Then we saw these four, which were peculiarly apart from the other group.

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And then, either because we were spotted and scared them, or just because it was time to move on, the small group by the peanut bale took off. It had not been as small as we thought…

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Those dots on the right side are not lens flaws but more cranes in the distance.

They just kept coming and flying past us.

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This is just one frame—there were so many cranes that it would take at least two more frames to get them all in. And I wish I could include the sound portion of this display!

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I’m going to try to get closer to them another time, and preferably on a brighter day so that their colors show up better.

Earlier this week I was out walking with the camera and this hawk landed on the ground very near me.

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