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Old Oct 25, 2012, 2:59 PM   #1
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Default Sandhill Crane Migration

The Sandhill Cranes are gathering at Crex Meadows in Grantsburg, WI, for their flight to Florida for the winter. The refuge has about 7 - 800 "resident" cranes that return to nest and raise their colts. In the fall, thousands of other Sandhills flock to the refuge and use it to rest and fatten up for their trip. An estimated 10,000 cranes are now on the refuge, where they fly out at sunrise to the surrounding fields that have been harvested. I picked a day that ended up thick with fog and got very few good pictures this year. Here's some that aren't too bad. Some were cross posted in the Pentax forum.



This pair was close to the road and not lost in the mist. They're "resident" cranes of Crex. One of the first things these beautiful gray birds do when they arrive in the spring is daub the local red mud all over, and they blend right in. I saw several "migrants", with clean gray feathers, but not being used to all the road traffic they flew away before I got close. "Locals" are used to cars and most shooting is done using your car as a blind.



This is the fog I found when I got there, just before sunrise. As soon as the first sliver of sun comes over the horizon the flocks start taking to the air. The fog didn't stop 'em, but I never saw much. As the family groups always stay in communication whihle flying, I could sure hear all the calls.



This pair was doing some practice for the mating dances they'll be performing in the spring. When ever large groups of cranes gather there's always some practice dancing going on.



Taken with Pentax Kx and Sigma 150 - 500 mm lens
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 7:10 AM   #2
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Very nice series Bob, enjoyed viewing.

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Old Oct 26, 2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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Very nice Bob. The Sandhill's are starting to arrive here in the Sacramento Valley for the winter. You have some very nice close ups. The cranes here are very wary of people and won't allow anyone to get very close.
Thanks for sharing
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 9:59 PM   #4
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Nice series; I especially like the dance sequences. Thanks for posting these.

Here is Florida, we also have a large number of Sandhill cranes that are year-round residents. They are more accustomed to humans, and are fun to photograph, as you can get close to them.
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