Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Craning" my neck!

If there is one thing that the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is famous for, it is the abundance of sandhill cranes that migrate here to spend the winter season. My mission this morning was to pick up John, and head out on the auto tour route to find what birds we could and photograph them. On my way to the volunteer village, I stopped at a viewing area just as the sun was coming over the mountains.
The sandhill cranes spend the night in the water to stay away from coyotes and other predators. As I pulled over, they were getting ready to head out for the morning to feed in local fields.
It wasn't long before they took flight....
The sun was just peeking over the eastern mountains as they headed out for the day.
It was a gorgeous morning to be out and about on the refuge.

Sandhill cranes aren't the only birds to be found on the refuge. Flocks of snow geese have also begun to arrive.

Their numbers will increase dramatically in the next month or so. Every time there is an approaching cold front, more cranes, geese, and ducks arrive.

Cranes are one of my favorite birds, and we saw many today. So, you'll have to put up with several pictures of them. I love listening to their calls as they fly, and as they prepare to move from one field to another. This sandhill was fluffing his feathers in the wind. Cranes mate for life, so this pair is bonded.
See the red top knot?
While the cranes and geese were feeding, many Northern harriers were coursing the fields looking for rodents.
What a great morning it was touring this refuge! It was in the 30's when we started out and the wind was blowing up to 30 mph, but seeing all the wildlife was worth the frozen fingers. ;)
I leave you with one last silhouette...

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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