Friday, September 18, 2009

looking for Whooping Cranes in the wild

Upon leaving the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, we headed to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge where Operation Migration funds research into migration of Whoopers via ultralight aircraft acting as surrogate adult birds.

One of our many stops upon entering the Refuge was this oak savanna which is the home of many, and I mean MANY, Red-headed Woodpeckers. Above, Stan is explaining to us how the Red-heads' behavior is different from most other woodpeckers.

Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to get good closeups of these beautiful birds.

Stan also taught us how to identify vultures by their flight rather than just "looks" when they are far away.

Eventually, Stan found two Whooping Cranes in the wild. Yes, see the white dot in the above photo which was taken with a 400mm lens + 1.4x converter. Below is a greatly cropped picture.

Obviously, we wanted to do better than this, but that would have to wait until tomorrow.