Archives
A Sample of Pop’s “Bee” Images

Some of Your Beeswax

Sedum Bumbler

Look of Defiance

Chicory Bee

Bumbling Bees

Garden Cafe

Buzz By Here - To Infinity and Beyond

Pick Your Poison

Blind Side Attack

On a Mission

Honey Bee on Sedum

Covering the Cosmos

Center of the Cosmos

Three's a Crowd

Popular Spot

On A Pedestal

On Golden Rod

The Beeline

Messy Hands

Bee on Yellow

Incoming

Bumble Bee Choreography

Messy Hands

A Sample of Pop’s “People” Photo Collection

Front Porch Portrait

Caged Competitor

Early Adoration

Child In the Ligtht

Stroll Through the Weeds

Attention Grabbing

Eye Contact

On the Line

Eyes of Wonder

Rounding the Curve

Troubadours of Basin Spring Park

Down by the Creek

Sun Day

Catching Some Light

EAA Fireworks

Hear Me Roar

Crane

Sandhill Crane in Profile

Sandhill Crane, Crane, Bird, Wildlife

The stately Sandhill Crane is a common sight in the farm fields of rural northeast Wisconsin during spring.

As I’m typing these notes, I can hear the loud, unmistakable call of the Sandhill Cranes interrupting the early morning silence around our rural homestead. I can’t see any, but they are out there.

This is the second of two Sandhill Cranes that appeared in my yard a couple of weeks ago.  Take a look the first image and the story behind it, titled “Crane Down.”

According to Wikipedia

The sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis) is a species of large crane of North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. The common name of this bird refers to habitat like that at the Platte River, on the edge of Nebraska’s Sandhills on the American Plains. This is the most important stopover area for the nominotypical subspecies, the lesser sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis canadensis), with up to 450,000 of these birds migrating through annually.

 

Adults are gray overall; during breeding, their plumage is usually much worn and stained, particularly in the migratory populations, and looks nearly ochre. In flight, their long, dark legs trail behind, and their long necks keep straight. Immature birds have reddish-brown upperparts and gray underparts.  These cranes frequently give a loud, trumpeting call that suggests a rolled “r” in the throat, and they can be heard from a long distance. Mated pairs of cranes engage in “unison calling”. The cranes stand close together, calling in a synchronized and complex duet. The female makes two calls for every one from the male.

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Crane Down

Sandhill Crane, Crane, Bird, Nature,
A sandhill crane seems to have found a green spot to rest.  It was struggling to walk, due to some injury to its right leg and dropped to this stance for a short while.

Though sandhill cranes are plentiful in our area, I’ve had a difficult time getting a good photo of any.  They are particularly shy and head for the hills whenever I attempt to get close enough for a decent photo. I spotted this one out my back window one morning as I was preparing to go to work.  I could only see its head and upper body because it was behind the mound of grass it eventually rested on, as seen here.

When I first saw it, it was bobbing its head and hopping around with a flutter of its wings.  It’s early spring so I thought it was some kind of mating dance going on.  Of course, I ran for my camera.  When I returned, it had made its way up the mound and I could see that its bob, hop and flutter was the result of some kind of painful leg injury.  It was limping on it’s right leg and the herky-jerky motions, as it hobbled, to take some of the weight of its leg. After limping to this spot, at the top of the mound, its long legs buckled and it plopped into this position where it remained for several minutes.  I closely looked at some of the other photos I took, while it was standing, and I didn’t notice any malady with the right leg other than the joint seemed to be larger.

When it eventually got back on its feet, it limped around a little until it reached down and ate a huge night crawler it found in the grass.  A few moments later, another sandhill crane flew in and landed nearby and this one took to the air, flying off across the farm field and beyond the woods.

As I mentioned, these birds are shy – at least all the ones I’ve encountered.  I was only able to get this image by shooting out the not-so-clean window of my garage.  Even then, I was keeping myself hidden as much as I could; shooting at the edge of the window frame.  I’m sure, if I would have attempted to get outside for a better vantage point, the bird would have been off at the slightest sound of the door opening.

I also got a few photos of the second sandhill crane that came just before this one flew away.  I’ll post it sometime in the near future.

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Heads Up

Sandhill Crane, Cranes, Wheat, Field, Wisconsin, Door County

Two Sandhill Cranes are up to the necks in wheat. This wheat field is in southern Door County, Wisconsin.

Sandhill cranes have always presented a challenge for me. They seem to be very shy and quick to take off when I try to get close. These two required a creative, persistent approach. Here’s how it happened.

Sara, my wife, and I were on a weekend getaway in Door County. We were heading to Peninsula State Park for a day of hiking through the woods. On the way Sara spotted these guys in a wheat field that we passed. We decided to go back an try to get a shot. I pulled over and we switched positions, so Sara was driving and I was free to take the photos. The plan was to approach the field at a relatively slow speed…but not too slow, so the birds wouldn’t get spooked.  I would try to focus in and snap a few frames before they caught on and disappeared.

The first pass was a resounding failure.  The movement made it hard to find and focus on the birds with my zoom lens and my exposure settings were way off.  We turned around and tried it again. This time I had the right exposure but the birds sensed something was up and were on the move. Their heads were bobbing up and down in the field, always in a different spot than the last.  Sara remarked, it reminded her of a Whack-A-Mole game.

We approached slower and even stopped as the birds headed for the brush at the edge of the field.  Before they really took off, I got a couple of decent shots.  There were actually 4 or 5 of them in the field, but with their concealed movement and head bobbing, I was never able to catch more than three in any shot.  This is the one I liked best.

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