Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sand Hill Cranes at Sunset

Every evening at the Bosque, the sand hill cranes will come back to roost in one of several marshes. The one we were at was the largest, and many cranes spent their nights here. The visitors' center stated there were about 1500 cranes here at the time we were here, and, altho we saw many, I doubt that we came close to seeing all 1500! The cranes tended to arrive in small groups, sometimes only a couple at a time. The image above is of a couple of the first that arrived. I was lucky enough to capture them performing synchronized eating, as I like to think of it! Mirror images of each other, and mirror images of each of them in the water. Very cool. Most of the cranes don't arrive until after the sun has set, so these were two of the early birds, so to speak.

Here's a bit of a close-up of a couple of other early birds. I was amazed at how perfectly graceful they are when they fly - look at how their feet are just perfectly pointed and together - figure skaters should try to imitate cranes when they work on keeping their toes pointed while skating! These two flew very close by the observation deck we were on.

As the sun got closer to setting, more cranes began arriving. This image appealed to me because I think of the cranes landing as doing a bit of a dance, and the entire scene made me think of them putting on a dancing performance. I also loved how still the evening was, so that all of their movements were captured in the reflection of the water.

This shot was one of the last that I was able to capture, and I really love this one. The cranes are silhouetted against the sunset sky, just as the last rays of the sun lit the sky. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect pose of the cranes, except, of course, they weren't posing. They were just coming home for the night, in the most graceful way possible.



  1. Awesome Nadine..thanks beautiful pictures and to be there seeing this all in cool.

  2. Beautiful pictures. It looks like a lovely area there.