Not five feet from the spot where the Coopers Hawk was a Gray Squirrel was digging in the leaves. A clump of saplings was between the hawks launching spot and where the squirrel was. I have to wonder at the circumstances that placed both critters where they were.
I hunkered down on my heels and the squirrel climbed a blown down tree. It seemed quite surprised when it recognized me. My reason for creeping to this location was to locate possibly a Pileated Woodpecker nest. I have been hearing the woodpeckers drumming like crazy on a tree in this area. My mind wandered to the Sandhill Crane weekend the “Little Woman” and I just experienced. Not being a religious man I often wonder at all the incredible things in nature I get to observe. My time was up to sit in the woods as I was to watch our granddaughter while my wife went to have her hair done. While my granddaughter played I read a little from a series of books I am reading by Jan Karon. The main character in this series is a preacher. Reading Father Tim’s take on the world is so pleasant it makes me think how a person could easily become a believer in God. When my wife returned she said; why don’t you take off and check out the Muskatatuck Wildlife Reserve and the Ewing bottoms nearby there where the Sandhill Cranes are staging in their migration north. She did not have to ask me twice. Throwing together a turkey sandwich and gobbling it down I took off. It is about a three hour round trip from here. That would give me two to three hours to explore.
My second attempt was of the Pintail flying. Shooting from the car on the nine mile auto trail that passes through the marshes. Ya gotta love all the variety of markings waterfowl come in. Each time an opportunity arises for me to view a different species I feel blessed.
It wasn’t long until the Shoveler flew off. I almost got it flying in good focus. It is hard to shoot a swinging shot from the cramped confines out a car window.Without much time I called the “Little Woman” and asked her to get me directions to the Ewing bottoms. She searched a bird website and off I went in search of the Sandhill’s.
Wow, wow, wow. As I arrived in the bottoms of the east fork of the White River to my delight thousands of Sandhill’s were spread out in the fields. Cranes flying back and forth. Many cranes were doing a dance the birds do as a sort of courtship ritual.
The nature interpreters told us the throwing mud has a purpose too. On their nesting grounds the cranes will throw mud on themselves to help camouflage them on the nest. I attempted to capture the cranes at various light angles. I also tried to catch all the different wing angles and such as the cranes went about their business. So I will conclude my sorry writing and finish this post with only photos. Let me sign off today by saying it was a day of bliss for this photographer.