Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Sandhill Cranes

Yesterday, after physio, we drove further west and north of Shallow Lake to see if we could find any Sandhill Cranes.  This is the time of year when they gather to migrate, and we found at least several hundred of them.

They were all off at a great distance, which did not help with the photography, but there were certainly lots of them.

We first saw a clump of them as shown in the first photo above, but soon we realized they were spread out all along the edge of the corn that was yet to be harvested.

They were constantly on the move, most with heads down, pecking for kernels of corn.  I tried hard to get a close up showing the red patch on their head, but never did manage that.

As we reached the end of the narrow one-lane sideroad we could see this group apparently close to the other road.

But by the time we reached that road, turned left, then drove down to find a place to turn around and return, the birds were some distance off, all heading steadily south, moving across the field.  You can see them all headed the same direction.

Several small flocks came in overhead, gradually descending to join the bigger flock, calling their somewhat duck-like quack as they came.

Finally we got around to the other concession and got a chance to look back up the field - there were hundreds!

We were intrigued that the gathering flock had moved two fields over from last year.  After looking at both fields we realized that last year the flock gathered on a harvested soybean field, which this year had been planted to winter wheat.  The clever cranes simply moved to a nearby field where the newly harvested cornfield provided plenty of food.

I do have to give credit to Mrs. F.G. who drove down the pothole-filled narrow sideroad, missing most of those potholes, and pulling over for heavy farm equipment - pulling over so much that the nearby trees invaded the car!  It was a great and successful adventure for us.

On the other hand I am disappointed in my photography.  There is something about this Samsung phone that just does not produce clear pictures when you use the amazing zoom.  It may be that I just cannot hold it steady enough.


  1. I wonder if these are the ones that come through Nebraska, a state west of me. It is interesting to see such a large amount that fly together. I enjoyed the shots anyway even though you wished they were better. They sure are hungry. I hope the farmer left something for them.

  2. Wow there sure are a lot of them.
    Like the photo of the leaves in the car! :)

  3. Can you rest the camera on a bean bag, window of the car? Mrs F G's shoulder? The leaves, beautiful autumn colours.

  4. That’s a lot of cranes, I can’t begin to imagine the noise. Excellent driving Mrs. F.G., that takes skill to get a branch at such an angle through the window without poking out an eye!!


  5. I love sandhill cranes. They are a very majestic bird. There dances in the spring are awesome.

  6. Impressive flock, glad you could find them and that there were so many. They're scarce this far east, we only occasionally get a wandering migrant although there has been a breeding pair in northcentral Pennsylvania.

  7. I found the same thing when I had a smart phone for a couple years awhile back. I found the phone awkward to use as a camera and because it was so light it was hard to hold steady for telephoto stuff. Just too awkward, unsteady, and jiggly.

  8. Thanks for sharing those beautiful birds. Your shots were fine, to me anyway.

  9. I would say your photos are wonderful. I remember as a kid, Dad pointing out the sandhill cranes in the fields. We never saw that many - maybe a half dozen at a time!

  10. The Sandhill cranes are such handsome birds. Seeing them in such great number must be quite an experience. I like the invading branches.

  11. Nice story and I love the last picture. My iPhone doesn’t do very well on zoom pictures either. If you are used to a manual zoom lens, digital zoom is always a disappointment.

  12. Great post with all those cranes!
    Your pictures look fine. We can zoom in and see the red on their noses.
    I find a lot of blur with either my Samsung or my little camera. Holding steady when we're driving is my problem.

  13. Yes, I have problems holding steady. But it is a record of your trip. Hubby snagged a blue heron yesterday, and bemoaned the photo. It's a a great memory, though.