Well hello there. I haven't posted since the last rose. It has been a long, cold winter and even now as Spring tries to make her Grand Entrance, it is still chilly, but the gardening will soon be back. Perhaps, then, I may be a bit more diligent in posting.
I inspired to write today because I wanted to share with you our birdwatching adventure Sunday.
Friends had told us that sandhill cranes were migrating through, so we took a drive in pursuit of the big birds that migrate through Northern Colorado. Most birdwatchers will travel to Nebraska for the Sandhill Crane festival to see the birds where they spend time in the cornfields near the Colorado line or to southern Colorado communities that also host huge crane festivals as these giant birds make their way north, but here in Northern Colorado you don’t have to travel far to see cranes. These are the best of my dozens of photos I took, using my Nikon 3500 with a Takumar 70-300mm lens. The cranes will feed here in late March and early April as they migrate from their northern Mexico and New Mexico winter nesting areas. They are on their way to their summer nesting grounds in The Yellowstone where they will raise their young then make the trip back home in the fall. Visit the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition to learn more.
Because the cranes are on private property, birdwatchers have to photograph at a distance. In the foreground, Canada geese forage corn stubble, while the cranes hang out near the water's edge.
They are much easier to photograph in flight. Most birdwatchers agree that we generally hear the bird first and these giants, just as the geese, talk to each other as they fly. They have a sweet, soothing voice, almost a purr.
This is my favorite photo of the cranes as they fly past the Rocky Mountains--Clark's Peak to exact.
We found another flock in a farmer's pasture, but easily viewed from the road side.
On our way home from crane watching, we stopped by the neighbor’s farm pond where G takes Brody to run to see what we could see. As we approached the pond hundreds or more Canada geese lifted off the lake at shoreline, turning the horizon black. I was a little slow getting the photo for in seconds they had ascended in the blue sky. And then we spotted them: a trio of swans. I couldn’t believe it! We had been told that there was a pair of swans north of Greeley on the gravel pit ponds so one day we made the drive to see if we could find them and surely we did as they flew low right across the across the road in front of us, but we could never find where they "lived". We concluded that they must have been on the Poudre River because the gravel pit ponds were frozen solid all winter. And there they were half a mile away from us on our favorite bird watching pond with their nearly grown cygnet. We could tell that it was a younger bird by the gray coloring on its upper neck. Swans are rare here. We surmise that they migrate with geese. We've seen pairs before; once on a Greeley pond and once on the Poudre River, but not so close to home. What a thrill.