A few days ago I received an e-mail from one of my readers, Michelle Sundeen, informing me of some Sandhill Cranes that she had seen several mornings. Since Sandhill Cranes are not regular visitors to this area, she definitely had my attention.
She told me that they were in a field northwest of San Angelo, near Miles, Texas. As everyone that is acquainted with me knows, I “have camera, will travel”, so Sunday morning, Ann and I took a drive out highway 67. When we got to the location, we looked to the left into the fields and spotted them. At first, with the naked eye, they appeared as tiny gray objects that I thought were sheep. As soon as I put the binoculars on them, I saw them for what they really were.
There were several hundred on the ground, easily 400 yards away, and as we watched several more were arriving, in several flocks of around twenty-five each. I had my Canon EOS 70D and Tamron 150-600mm lens. First I tried to photograph some of incoming birds. In the early morning sky, they appeared more as shadows, lacking in detail.
To get the best shots possible, I got out of the car, climbed down into a bar ditch, then up the other side and then onto a railroad track. I knelt down and got into the steadiest position possible to hand-hold my long lens. All these images are heavily cropped.
It must be that time of year, because there were numerous mating dances going on. Click on any image to see enlargements.
Seeing the Sandhill Cranes added another specie to our 2014 Texas Big Year list, which brought our total to date to 117.
#114 Northern Bobwhite
#115 Barn Swallow
#116 Least Sandpiper
#117 Sandhill Crane