Wednesday, March 12, 2008

last Friday's morning in Kearney

After traipsing a half-mile to our blind in total darkness, our reward came with the dawn. Thousands of cranes in front of us, to the left and right of us. I can't remember ever being so cold. The official temp. in Kearney was +1 -- by the river flats it must have been below zero. Only my feet stayed warm in my new Cabela's boots -- they really worked!

The birds were starting to move and around and sound their calls.

Then, as if by some hidden signal, they all took off. This was truly a unique sight -- the whirring of wings -- the louder and louder calls.

None was left behind.

I have no idea how many cranes we saw.

As we returned to Kearney, we had to stop for this "artsy" scene.

As we drove the gravel, country roads, in every field there were cranes coming in from the river flats.

By now you may be tired of huge crane flock shots; but I couldn't get over the number of birds -- so I just kept shooting. I don't know how this wonder of nature can be adequately photographed.

The above eagle-after-crane event was very well described by Birdchick in her blog's March 11, post. The above and following pictures are my feeble attempts to capture what happened.
I could blame it on the fact that I was shooting only with a 70-200mm lens at the time, but Amber and Stan's timing was clearly much better.

Here the eagle is latching on to the crane's behind.

But the crane manages to escape.

The eagle does not give up and continues pursuit.

As the pair flew toward us the eagle banked away and the crane made its escape.

We continued watching Sandhills overhead for the rest of the morning.

Tomorrow, Friday afternoon's photos.