On our second day to view the Sandhill Cranes where they roost on the mudflats, was too far away to get a usable photo. We did get to see a juvenile Bald Eagle fly in, hover around, then land on the mud flat beside the lake.
Another bonus sighting was a line of Wild Turkeys some strutting cross the mudflats to the lake shore. Then fly across the water to a rocky bank on the other side. We then headed to the fields to search for the cranes once they left the roosting area. Once again we only got a glimpse of a small flock in the corn fields. The cranes are migrating back north a little early due to the mild winter here. We headed next to the tailwaters of the dam to look for eagles.
Our timing was great as a group of 6-8 juvenile eagles were putting on a show overhead. “Play with purpose” our guide said. I combined the above image because as we were watching the eagle play at mating a flock of Sandhills was heard as they gained altitude high above the eagles playing. The cranes are moving north but making one more fly over.
The mature Bald Eagle was perched across the river the same as yesterday. A little lower on the cliff bank in good light for having his picture taken. My wife and I left for home with high spirits. Satisfied and having a better understanding of the lives of Sandhill Cranes. Our memory cells packed with all the wonder of the birds and the area surrounding Barren River Lake. We planned on stopping by Cecilia, Kentucky on the way home. Another stop off spot for the Sandhill Cranes along their migration route to their breeding grounds in MI, WI and Canada. Tired from the long days we spent rising at 4 am catch the buses for the crane tours, we discussed how it would have been nice to get a little closer look at the cranes and hoping the detour to Cecilia would payoff.
Ask and thou shalt receive it is said. We passed through the small town of Cecelia. Looking at the darkening skies a huge flash of lighting struck. The bolt was wide and not defined as many lightning bolts are. A sign from above? Hundreds of Sandhill Cranes filled the surrounding skies. All seeming to be zeroing in on us. Right beside the road the huge cranes stood. Wow, my heart, spirit and senses tingled as if touched by that lightening strike.
As a photographer we always wish for enough light to capture the images we seek. Many times it is the fringe weather conditions that provide the best light for our subjects. I think this was the case as I snapped away attempting to capture the awesome feel of being a part of the Sandhill Cranes arrival at a feeding location.
So often I feel my words can not do justice to the wonders of nature I see. The same applies for my photographs. Still it gives me a tremendous feeling of connection as I try to be absorbed in the action of wildlife’s lives.
Hunkering down snapping away a memory from my past came to me. Times when Canadian Geese would be dropping down to feed in the cornfields. Tired I suppose from their long flights they ignore me squatting in the cornrows if I remain still.
Everywhere I turned my head an image worth capturing. Bowed wings, legs dropped the treeline in the background. How lucky a man can I be? Right were I want to be. Thankful for the gifts this world has to offer.
Thrilled that I have a partner to share the wonders of this world we live in. Dragging myself back to the car my mind wonders to the future. How in an hour I will see our granddaughter. How wonderful to think of introducing her to all the beauty this world has to offer.