Cake
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    • Pa

      I mentioned in another post that I like watching, following sandhill cranes. I first became aware of them in images of Bosque del Apache on photographic web sites about 10-15 years ago - rather sad really since they migrate through Indiana near my home but I never realized that since I was busy working indoors during my working life. I first went to Bosque in March of 2004 with my new Canon 10D, knowing next to nothing about photographing birds or sandhills. I did know I would need a long lens, so I took a Canon 400mm DO, and spent a couple days looking for birds, but most of the migrants had left by March, but there were a few tardy snow geese, and I got lucky one morning and captured this - it is still an image I like despite the primitive camera by todays standards. I have returned to Bosque numerous times now, and have coralled many images of sandhills cranes in New Mexico, but also in Indiana, Alaska, Florida, and most significantly in Nebraska.

    • Pa

      Initially when I started following sandhills I went west to New Mexico, but my spouse was smarter, and literally dragged me to Kearney Nebraska several years ago in spring April to see the sandhill migration there. Bosque might see 10,000 sandhills or even maybe 40,000 sandhills over a season. At Kearney along the Platte River there will be over 500,000 come through - they will turn the sunrise and sunset skies almost black at times, and their cry which is quite distictive can be heard in every direction. Photography is a bit harder along the Platte, because much of the land is private farm land, and the farmers arent really interested in welcoming scads of folks to traipse across their tilled fields, and as a descendant of farmers, I don't blame them. One resourse is the Rowe Sanctuary which has access to about a linear mile of the Platte River and viewing blinds that can be signed up for - we did that last spring. I found the blind fine for viewing, but the roof prevents access to birds flying overhead and thus I prefer some older bridge viewing areas. Their calls are quite distinct and easliy recognizeable - https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/sounds-sandhillcrane.htm

      Here is one walking in the mud from 2005 - they're wading birds, after all

    • Dj

      Indiana Sandhills. Not sure where you are in Indiana, but the north end of brookville lake holds thousands of them each winter. I love them as well. First bird I went looking for when I got my first camera last winter.

    • Pa

      Was there still snow on the ground in your image? I see them in the snow in Nebraska not infrequently. And in Fairbanks Alaska also. When the sandhills return to Brookeville lake please let me know I would love to see them there and photograph them as well.

      I usually see them at Goose Pond Wildlife Area, but they fly over my home occasionally as well - I frequently hear them before I see them.

      The Wabash River has become a haven for bald eagles now too. I have a friend who has countless images of them captured from a small boat in the Wabash. Its good to see the return of wildlife to Indiana. Goose Pond Wildlife Area is managed by the Indiana DNR - https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3094.htm

      I have even seen whooping cranes at Goose Pond - these two were captured in 2014. I never imagined I would ever even see a whooper in my life time and I photographed these two at Goose Pond - note the radio monitors on their legs

    • Dj

      There was a light dusting of snow at the time. Photos were taken in mid-january. Quite a few stay there all winter. There's decent access to the area where they congregate, and it's usually easy to find a few dozen in the surrounding fields feeding during the day.

    • Pa

      I don't know, I am certain they drug them in some manner - I doubt they use darts on Whoopers, perhaps they snare or net them, but I would think they would need to be sedated in some manner. Maybe a field biologist can tell us.

    • nature_wanderer

      I know here in California at Pinnacles National Park, they have giant underground boxes baited with meat that they close when a condor enters one. Then somehow they drug them, install a radio tracker, then release them.

      Have you ever photographed/seen California Condors?

    • Pa

      I see here - https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Birds/California-Condor that there are thought to be about 460 California condors in existence, and about 170 are thought to exist in the wild. I suspect getting images of them without harming or disturbing them is quite challenging. I do see that there are lots of images of them to be found on the web - I do have images of some African vultures that are pretty large. This vulture and a young hyena were challenging each other for the week old remnants of a water buffalo in South Africa back in 2012

    • Pa

      I have always liked this image of this young hyena shot after sunset - its looks so tentative to me, which is not a typical pose for a hyena - they tend to be pretty fierce and fearless - the image is technically not great too much noise since it was shot in the near dark at ISO 1600 6 years ago, and is a significant crop of the original file; still I like it myself.

    • Dj

      This whole section of the lake is turned in to a giant mud flat during winter draw down. I got my camera around Christmas time, and my wife bought me Lightroom for my birthday in February. So other than the few close up pictures I saved to smugmug, I don't have any showing the area, but it is a great spot to spend a day. The bigger the lens the better for there.

    • Pa

      Great! Thank you so much!! - I'll keep that in mind for next winter - especially if we get some nice snow fall to dress things up

    You've been invited!