Sunday, March 4, 2012

sandhill cranes

every spring and fall around 20,000 sandhill cranes migrate through the san luis valley. saturday we got up early (REALLY early) and drove down to the monte vista wildlife refuge to see the cranes. we arrived around 7:00 AM, and took County Road 8S along the southern boundary of the refuge. i scanned the farm fields, not sure how close the cranes would be to the road. we saw several cranes flying overhead...

and finally saw a flock congregating in a field near one of the viewing turn offs. when i got out of the car, i was surprised by the noise.

we made our way to the western border of the refuge, and turned north on county road 15. near the intersection we saw the largest congregating area, a semi-frozen pond covered with sandhill cranes, ducks and geese.

we also drove the remainder of the refuge and auto tour loop, with some great opportunities to see the cranes up close.

we even caught this pair in a graceful courting dance right before we left

lots more pictures HERE!

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