Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Magical Evening at Cross Farms

A couple days ago, my friend Karen Cross texted me that Sandhill Cranes had been visiting the labyrinth area at Cross Farms.  We decided I'd come by the next evening to see if I could photograph this large, yet elegant bird.

When I arrived, I parked just inside the drive and carried my gear around the back of the house.  I didn't want to disturb the birds in case they had arrived before me.  They hadn't so I took my time setting up my camera and long lens on my tripod.  I immediately noticed the beautiful Monarch butterflies on their butterfly bush.

Shortly after, I caught sight of a flock of big birds flying in.  At first I thought they were the Sandhill Cranes, but their honking gave them away to be geese.  I was disappointed at first, but the Crosses told me the cranes typically follow the geese.

And, sure enough, a pair of Sandhill Cranes soon joined the geese along the edge of a field of rye. 

One of the birds took the job of jabbing its bill into the soil for rye seeds and insects.

While the one bird hunted, the other kept watch over the area.

Its orange-red eye was alert for any predators that might bring harm to the hunting mate.

Even though the birds had different roles, they were never far apart; their bond was palpable.

But the real show began as the two cranes began their pair-bonding dance.

 Their moves, elegant and graceful, were something I'd not witnessed before.  One bird spread and fluttered its wings, displaying a huge wingspan.

The other crane strutted towards its mate, its plumage held out like a majestic cape trailing behind.

After a while, I just watched the show.  I no longer had the words to describe the wonder I was seeing.  Thank you, Rick and Karen, for a magical evening at your beautiful farm.



  1. Stunning captures of the cranes in their beautiful, lyrical pair-bonding dance, Karen.

  2. Thank you, Jan. They are such beautiful birds and their dance only enhances their elegance and beauty. Karen

  3. The one of the two of them -- ! And the dancing! Lovely, Karen.

  4. Thank you, Pamela. With the hawk experience, followed by the sandhill cranes, I'm having some wonderful photo opportunities. Karen