Early October is typically the start of my search for fall colors, but this year…
Yesterday, I was off again to photograph Sand Hill Cranes. A friend told me on Sunday that they were in the same spot we photographed last Thursday. However, when I arrived there were no cranes to be seen on the ground. There was a group flying very high overhead. I did see a group of northern shovelers, but they wanted to avoid the camera!
A Mail Carrier to the Rescue!
I drove the backroads for quite some time. Some were impassable due to river flooding after the weekend rain. When I was about to give up, I saw a rural mail carrier and flagged him down. I asked him if he had seen any Sand Hill Cranes this morning. He was quite informed as he has a degree in some area of wild life management. According to him, most of the cranes flew north over the weekend by catching the warm southern winds. However, he had seen a large group and gave me directions to a place southwest of Medora. After about 15 minutes of driving, I found a large group of Sand Hill Cranes beside the road.
A Group of Sand Hill Cranes
The more photos I took, the closer they would venture to check me out maybe because of the sound of the camera. The one family of three made a diagonal line to my left and came close. Once I had finished photographing them, I decided to move ahead a bit and turn around so that the sun was behind me. This country road is really a very long drive way to a farm. I turned around using a field road and drove a few yards north to a new location. The farm’s St. Bernard came charging out to the yard to let me know that I was on his property. That is, as defined by our dogs, anything they can see, hear, or smell is their property.
It was the dogs barking that alerted the cranes and I was able to get the shot of many of them with their heads held high. I was amazed that they did not take off, but rather stood their ground as a few kept watch. They appeared to be watching me and not the dog!
It appears many of the migratory birds that winter here are heading north. I have one more spot to visit later this week if the weather improves and birding reports are also good. Then, it will be time to return to landscape photography and macro photography of the wild flowers.