Festival of the Cranes – part 10

We got up early for the last day of the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to see the flyout. There were more clouds on the east horizon than in previous days. They made for deeper color of the sunrise.

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The water around the sandhill cranes that were just beginning to move around was tinged pink.

A few begin flying away but most of them stayed put.

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It was a cold morning and a thin layer of ice had formed on the water. I took a series of pictures of a crane carefully walking and breaking through the ice.

The morning light began to fade as the clouds blocked the sun. A juvenile sandhill crane seemed to pose for my camera. The redhead feathers of adulthood are still to come for this bird.

I finally managed to capture the drama of the flock of snow geese leaving the pond. They swirl up into the air. Sometimes they come back to the same pond; other times they go somewhere else. I guess it depends on what caused them to fly up and out.

As cranes take off from the water – the legs are still down but they ‘point their toes,’ becoming more aerodynamic. I’m always in awe of how close together they can be and not get their wings tangled as they take off.

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Finally – I took some pictures of a single crane surrounded by snow geese – head pointed up and vocalizing, flapping wings. Was the bird celebrating the morning, calling other cranes to join him, or just starting a normal crane day?

It was a good conclusion to the last fly out of this festival.