I spent all last spring out in the back yard with my new (at the time) camera, and never ran out of things to photograph. There were so many birds every day, plus I noticed the light at sunset, and the magical reflection of the trees in the lake that made the water look like a mirror. In reality it’s quite loaded with algae, etc., but shortly before sunset it looks amazing out there. As it did today.
And of course the Sand Hill cranes. Their story had me enthralled for months, but they had moved on. And the reality is that there hasn’t been a lot of bird action on the lake for a few months now. Until lately. Lately Sand Hill cranes are all around the neighborhood, and they spend time on the lake too. A few days ago I watched a stand off of sorts between a Great Blue Heron on one side of the lake, and two Sand Hill cranes directly across from him.
The heron never moved an inch, so I really can’t say that it wasn’t a statue of one. He stared at those cranes for well over an hour. I was busy but each time I looked outside to see what was going on he was in exactly the same place. I’ve seen a heron out there from time to time, but they haven’t ever been as common a visitor as the Sand Hill cranes are.
Today I needed to get some new pictures, so when I heard the cranes out there I picked up my camera and went outside. But instead of seeing them across the lake as I expected, they were right in my backyard. Someone must be feeding them because they weren’t afraid of me, in fact they headed straight for me. Someday I’ll contain my excitement when I think I’m going to get some nice pictures and actually look at the settings instead of picking up the camera and starting to shoot. Most of the time when I do get a good picture it’s dumb luck, and this afternoon was no exception. They were coming so close to me that I had to change the lens on the camera. I’m really hoping they will make their nest out there on the lake again this year.
I never knew their beaks were so well ventilated. Or that they have chubby cheeks. They were so close to me that I could only take close ups, and as I did they turned their heads this way and that as if they were getting directions. I finally sat on the ground for a different perspective. I had been wondering where I ought to go for some photo ops yesterday, and it turned out I only needed to head out the door…