Wilcox – January 2021
A Love Story
I pulled into the parking lot and turned the engine off. I opened the car door and was focused on collecting what items I would need. As I sat there fumbling around, I began to notice strange sounds emanating somewhere near me.
“What a strange sound?” I wondered. Leaving my stuff in the car, I headed toward the location I though the sound was coming from. I stood and listened. I just knew birds were in the tall grasses located near the parking lot. “What are they?” I didn’t notice any movement in the tall autumn grasses and I didn’t see any birds.
As I continued to stand there listening all of a sudden I knew; I smiled to myself and looked up toward the late, evening sky. It was a most awesome moment. High up in the sky, flying south were hundreds of Sandhill Cranes. No mistaking their “distinct chattering” as they elegantly graced the sky.
Hundreds of them, flying in perfect “V” formation. I followed the long line of birds until my eyes landed on the leader. I looked at this bird, wondering just how long and far he or she had been the first to face the wind, leading the others to their new destination. Admiration was what I felt.
A long “V” formed on the outside of the flock, another “V” was formed inside the outside “V”. Small “ribbons” of straight lines formed behind these “V’s”.
The flock was huge! Their sound distinct. The sight was stunning! It was simply beautiful. I am standing there watching as they pass overhead, admiring their strength and determination.
All of a sudden, I realize I am holding a camera in my hands, I also realize I am too stunned, too in awe and too late to take a good photo. They were too high up and I didn’t have the correct lens on the camera. But, take a shot I did.
On this evening I saw a total of four waves of Sandhill Cranes flying high over the Rockies, heading where, I’am not sure. I am appreciative of the fact I got to see and hear them as they flew over.
After the last bird flew out of sight, with camera in hand, I head over to where a group has gathered. The reason I pulled into this parking lot was to participate in my first Night Sky Photography class. I am going to learn how to take photos of the night sky.
It was a fun evening, truly an adventure as we walked the darkening paths, setup our cameras on tripods and began the task of capturing the night sky. The beaming comes from red flash lights were needed to see the settings of the camera and provided a spooky mood.
The evening glow of the late evening sky turned to dark, clear skies. The quarter moon rose and was shining brightly in the west. The Milky Way outlined its presence east to west, the stars were twinkling in the clear, cool night sky and the Devil’s Backbone provided the perfect setting .
Beauty filled the night.
After many days of cloudy skies and heavy rains we finally have had a few days of sunshine. On an early morning walk, in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, we spotted these Sandhill Cranes and an Osprey fishing for its breakfast. The early morning light created a nice image on the Loxahatchee River.
I first spotted the Osprey standing at the edge of the river. I could not see if it had anything in its talons. I tried to get as close as I could without scaring it, but without a longer lens it was not close enough to capture a great photo. It watched me creeping closer and decided to take off. It flew across the river and twice dove down to the surface. I would love to know if it had food in its talons. Why was it driving down to skim the water’s surface? It did not appear as if it was diving for food, but instead dipping its talons in the water as if to keep something wet.
These two Sandhill Cranes were walking around in the grass, feeding. We spotted them just as we got out of the car, driving from our RV site to the Loxahatchee River in the back of the park. I needed to walk around them to have the sun behind me. They keep an eye on me as I walked around them and tried to get closer to take my shots. They really seemed to just ignore me, but I knew they were watching me! They are beautiful birds and I love watching them.
December 8, 2012
“At last a glint of sun reveals the approach of a great echelon of birds.
On motionless wings they emerge from the lifting mists, sweep a final arc of sky, and settle in clamorous descending spirals to their feeding grounds. A new day has begun on the crane marsh.”–Aldo Leopold
Look what you might see while driving around Hobe Sound, Florida!
These Sandhill Cranes were wondering around a neighborhood we were driving through. The warm climate and abundant food supply must draw them to this area.
They did not show any concern when I got out of the car to take a few photos, which truthfully surprised me. Of course I did not approach them too closely.