Sand Hill Cranes at Wheeler Refuge - eworley

Sand Hill Cranes at Wheeler Refuge

I went over to the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge to see the Sand Hill Cranes that now winter there -- and anything else that I could find.  The Park Ranger (I think that was his title) that 6 years ago only 25 Sand Hill Cranes wintered here.  This year, he said, there were around 13,000 Cranes.  Apparently the original 25 liked this place and they communicated this to their buddies -- somehow. 

I arrived at the glass enclosed viewing station around noon and saw an amazing vista of Sand Hill Cranes, ducks of every sort and a few other cranes that I wasn't knowledgeable enough to know what kind.

It is hard to acquire an image that captures the mass of cranes that I saw.

There were some ducks there also.

A couple of ducks

And a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.

I was walking along the path toward the observation booth and I heard quite a ruckus off to my right.  There was a small path through the woods in that direction and no sign saying that is was off limits. ( There are other signs further along that clearly say that.)  So with confidence I walked on this path out to a clearing.  There I saw in a shallow body of water hundreds of Sand Hill Cranes.  I took a number of pictures, those that survived my cut are contained in the gallery at the end of this blog.

The following image though kinda appeals to me.  I was not ready to take the shot when the cranes, are some of them, decided to go airborne.  I probably should have use a higher shutter speed, but I just wasn't ready as I should have been.  In any event, I like this image.

Here are some more of the images that I took on several different days.