January 9, 2013

Crane Convention

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For amateur ornithologists, such as yours truly, winter in Florida is fun.  It's migratory season, and I never know what I'm going to see with so many feathered creatures flocking south.  It's common to see sandhill cranes here year round.  Usually, they're alone or with a mate.  In the winter, I've seen as many as 5-6 flying together, which is an impressive sight with their 7-foot wingspan.  But, last weekend, as the sun was setting at Myakka State Park, three dozen sandhill cranes filled the sky as they flapped and honked toward the birdwalk and prairie.  What a sight!

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It was really exciting because I've never seen so many sandhill cranes flying at once.  Plus, quite honestly, until that moment I had never seen much bird life at the birdwalk.  As they dipped past the visitors and landed, they announced their arrival:  honk!  honk!  (They're quite loud.)  

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After awhile, another dozen arrived followed by several white pelicans with a few roseate spoonbills drafting.  (Who knew the spoonbills and white pelicans were on such friendly terms?!)  They all peacefully wandered the prairie nibbling on dinner in the beautiful golden sunlight.  Remember the prairie photo I posted earlier this week?  All those sandhill cranes and other birds are 'hiding' in the vegetation.  It was a very successful birding excursion.

15 comments:

cieldequimper said...

These shots are wonderful! What a sight that must be!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Pretty impressive avian display. I like that other species tagged along.

We are: clamco said...

Great flight shots! The most "exotic" bird I ever saw here in PA was a great blue heron. He was standing in a small pond and when he saw me, he took off. What a sight!

Andy said...

Great photos. Wish I were there with my camera.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I love all these images SRQ but the last one with the pelican leading the parade is just too good.

Lowell said...

I've not seen anything like this, unfortunately! But we did have a few sandhill cranes in our backyard last year. One of them walked up so I could have touched it. They're quite beautiful!

Great shots!

Jim Klenke said...

nice shots, I always wonder who decided who leads?

Halcyon said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I love the way you've caught them in flight formation.

SFlaGuy said...

I always love the sounds they make as they fly over. I used to see flocks pass by on occasion when I lived in Sebring but now that I live in a populated area, just a pair or two prowling the golf course for a meal.

Dina J said...

The spoonbills behind the white pelican is amazing. I've got to get back down there soon.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Myakka is certainly a treasure and a place for spotting the migratory birds. I have enjoyed looking back over your last posts at both the gorgeous photos and the beautiful park.

I love the "drafting" photo!

Bises,
Genie

Kay said...

Lucky you! What a treat to see - and shoot such an assortment! I've only seen sandhill cranes at a distance, never seen a roseate spoonbill. And I think the white pelicans on our coast are totally white.

Roger Real said...

Great capture of the spoonies drafting the White Pelican. It's so beautiful out this time of year...these shots might inspire me to get out this weekend :)

Jack said...

I don't see sandhill cranes in the Fort Myers/Naples corridor. I played golf once about 45 minutes north of here and did see them. I wonder hw these nesting decisions get made.

Ali Crehan said...

These are really great images! I especially love the composition on the first one - they are so tightly clustered and yet you can see each one!