Green Island Wetlands, Iowa ------

I read and heard from two different sources that in the Green Island Wetlands more than 100 Sandhill Cranes have been sighted during the last few days. Without any cloud in the sky today I was hopeful to have some nice warm light in the evening and since we still have some snow on the ground these were promising conditions for some shots. Shortly after my arrival in the wetlands I discovered about 25 cranes, scattered at different locations but not far from each other. That was already the largest number I have ever seen in Green Island. You can’t chase the cranes and try to follow them, and so I parked my ‘mobile blind’ on the west side of the wildlife refuge, with the sun behind me. I was hoping the cranes would walk in my direction and come within range for a decent image. And that’s what exactly came about. The group gathered and with every minute getting closer to sunset other Sandhill Cranes flew in and joined the group. My head count was probably not 100% exact but I had about 70-80 cranes. 

I talk quite often about visual story telling I like to accomplish with my photography. Today was such an exciting evening when it all came together. The snow covered hillside in the background, the powerful sunset, and the appearance of the largest number of Sandhill Cranes I have ever seen, this was all part of the story about the wonderful time during bird migration between winter and spring.