Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Snow Birds


Had a lovely day in the desert yesterday photographing snow birds, not too far from the sprawling metropolis of Douglas, AZ. There was snow on the ground and it was chilly when the wind blew across the muddy water. The big attraction is the sandhill cranes; big, beautiful, prehistoric birds. Supposedly there were 20-30,000 of them at this location, although I don't know how anyone could arrive at any sort of realistic estimate. You certainly couldn't count them one by one.

The cranes have a lovely song and I am inspired to get a digital audio recorder so I can record their song to submit to NPR's Sound Clips.

There was quite a flock of snow geese as well and when the smaller white geese flew with the larger gray and brown cranes, they looked like diamonds in the sky.

I shot almost 200 images with my new telephoto lens, mostly of the cranes flying overhead, but right at dusk the local boys started hooting, so I ran over and caught these guys in the trees of the swamp before they headed out to look for dinner.




Just before sunset, the cranes gathered in a field east of the lake, thousands of them, and they all stood facing west, as though they were watching the sunset. Then, at twilight, there was a mass ascention, all of the cranes singing and flapping - it sounded like a some sort of industrial process it was so loud. They all flew over to the lake shore where apparently they spend the night so that they only have to watch 180 degrees for predators, mostly bobcats and coyotes.

It was very soothing to see such abundant life, to listen to the honking geese, the hooting owls and the trill of the cranes, and to take photographs. The only negative of the experience was the mud - thick brown mud that somehow cakes several inches on the bottom of your shoes - but that was a minor inconvenience. I am definitely going back.

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