November 2007 Archives

Sandhill Cranes

We heard through the grapevine that the Sandhill Cranes which spend the summer in Fairbanks Alaska, would be at the Pixley National Wildlife Reserve in California. My friend called and confirmed that they had indeed arrived at their winter home.

We photographed these birds at Creamer's Dairy in Fairbanks during the summer of 2006 and were excited to have the opportunity to take some more photos near home.

On Friday after Thanksgiving we caravaned up to Pixley with great anticipation. We arrived at the gate to find out that the only viewing site was a long way down a gravel road and cars were not allowed. So we packed up all our gear and started walking.

Once we reached the viewing area we found that the birds were smart and keeping their distance, in other words they were a long way off...

We started taking pictures anyway and hoped some might fly by, they only retreated...

We were a dejected band of photographers and decided to go down the road to the Kern National Wildlife Reserve.

I was having a bit of trouble walking so I took a shortcut and waited for my daughter to pick me up, here she comes to the rescue...

Our hopes were further dashed as we started around the loop at the KNWR. The areas that were full of water and birds last time we visited were all dry. As we rounded the south end of the loop we finally found some water and a few elusive birds. But things were starting to look up...

This beautiful hawk decided to put on a show for the camera and another posed further down the road.

But alas, no more wildlife action for the day at this park. So off we went down the road to the Tule Elk Reserve further south in the San Joaquin Valley. The elk were also out of reach for photos this day.

So I started after another of my favorite subjects...


We weren't able to show our friends the kind of wildlife they had wanted to see or expected, that will have to wait for another day. Animals are not the most cooperative subjects.

We split up and they went towards home, but we couldn't stop when more photo ops were around so we headed for the hills...



The next day I spoke with my friend and he told me that the Sandhill Cranes might fly around sunset. I couldn't leave it alone. Off we went again, several hours drive back up to the Reserve...

They do fly in the evening, by the thousands.



Then they split up and head for the fields in the area, some of them at local dairies, just like where we found them in Alaska.

That's when the party really  begins...


I still didn't get the up close and personal shot that I would've liked of these guys, but we sure had a lot of fun trying. We took a lot of other interesting shots this weekend of the industry and railroads in the area. I hope to turn that into a gallery soon.

Keep on taking photos, even if you don't find exactly what your looking for. Most of all have fun doing it.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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