Nature clicks #16 - Sandhill Crane and more

As I mentioned yesterday, I was very happy after I had the chance to take some close-up pictures of a Bald Eagle sitting on the ice at the Green Island Wildlife refuge last Sunday. And the day was still not over. I saw hundreds of Canada Geese and ducks flying into the wetland for the night. I also spotted some swans, probably Trumpeter Swans, that were feeding among the other birds.

Sandhill Crane
Nikon D200, SIGMA 50-500


Suddenly I heard a call that was different, but that I knew very well from my home country Germany. The call of a crane. It took me a little while before I saw the Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) between bushes and reed grass. Cranes are such wonderful birds. It was quite a bit away but seemed to move in my direction. I had the tripod and camera out in almost no time and started shooting. The sun was already very low behind a thin layer of clouds and it was very difficult to use the auto focus. The crane was constantly moving and the low contrast of the bird against the bushes and grass didn't help either. I guess I reached the limits of my camera-lens combination, and of course my own abilities. The above picture is quite a bit cropped. I haven't been as close as it seems. I know it is not tack sharp but watching cranes has been always a thrill for me and I'm glad to got the shot.

I wonder why I saw only a single Sandhill Crane. Maybe this bird was not able to follow it's flock on their way up north, or maybe it will stay in this area during the summer and other cranes may still arrive. However, it seemed healthy.

Young Bald Eagle sitting in a tree
Nikon D200, SIGMA 50-500

On my way back I saw another eagle sitting up in a tree beside the gravel road. It was a young Bald Eagle. According to my field guide books it is probably in its third year, considering the colors. I was able to use what was left of the sun light late in the day. Since I was almost right underneath the bird I handheld the camera.

What a great day! I hope to have another one like this soon… :-)