Friday, February 26, 2016

Sandhill Cranes taking flight at Merced National Wildlife Refuge

I haven't mastered "birds-in-flight" pictures. There are sports settings on my camera, but I never think of them when I'm outdoors shooting at everything in sight. That being said, there were majestic things happening in the skies above the Merced National Wildlife Refuge today. 
I was at the San Joaquin NWR a few days earlier, and it seemed on the verge of empty, as if the big migratory birds like the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese were already on their way north. I was mistaken in my perception it turns out. When we arrived at Merced, there were thousands upon thousands of geese and cranes out and about. Many seemed to be doing some flight workouts, getting ready for the big journey north that will begin very soon.

Knowing that they'll be gone soon makes every moment precious. The Sandhill Cranes are such graceful beautiful birds, and all the more so when they are soaring through the skies.

Lest the Snow Geese feel slighted, here are a few of them as well
The big northern journey begins in a few weeks. The refuges will be quieter, but other migrants from the south will be arriving to take their place. The refuge is interesting in all seasons.

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