Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sandhill Crane Heads at the San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge

Does it seem like there have been a lot of Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) in my blogs of late? There's a reason for that. They're going to be gone pretty soon.
Oh, not from extinction so far as I know. But gone from this area. It's February and spring is coming soon. They will be moving north back to their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. I'm going to miss them.
I'm still getting cloudy afternoons on Tuesdays when I can get out to the Beckwith Road platform overlooking the San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge so the zoomed shots are still a bit unfocused. But the birds have been roaming closer and closer to the road. The reason is, of course, food.
The cornfields have long since been mowed down, and the voracious cranes and geese have eaten a lot of the food in the refuge. They've avoided the cobs remaining near the road, but now that area is one of the "good" spots for foraging, so they have been close enough for some detailed shots of their faces and heads. And thus today's post.
Since taking up birding, the cranes have been one of my favorite local "discoveries". I had no idea that they spent winters here in the Central Vally, just a short drive from my workplace. By the tens of thousands!
I wish them well on their arduous journey. In the meantime, I'll keep shooting and posting until they're gone!
Arduous journey? Say what?

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