Thursday, April 16, 2020


You remember Saturday, don’t you?  Sunny.  Fifties nearing sixty.  I’d been watching the weather forecast and saw there was cold, rain, and snow coming.  I knew I needed to get out and enjoy the day while I could, so Gracie and I hopped in the car and took off for an evening ride in farm county.

We were entering prime feeding time for critters, so we were able to see a lot of wildlife.  Many, however, were at quite a distance, like this small herd of deer munching on field greens.  Even though I watched and clicked from afar, the deer were alert and aware of my presence.

I saw ten Sandhill Cranes during the evening, but none were close enough to get super-sharp images.  All were in pairs.

The next four cranes I saw were still pretty far away, but two were vocalizing on the grassy portion of a hilly field.  I wondered if they were going to break into their pair bonding dance because vocalizing can be part of that ritual.

 Two more cranes were deep in a cornfield behind the vocalizing cranes.  One stood watch while the other was bent over with only its feather bustle visible.  I couldn’t help but wonder if these four were the family I’d seen from last year.

 I noticed it was clouding up, and wondered whether there would be a clear sunset.  Still, the clouds and sun were creating a beautiful scene on this hillside stand of trees.

My luck changed in an instant when I spotted this Belted Kingfisher on a tree branch near a farmland pond.  These birds plunge dive for prey, often fish, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, and reptiles.  It looks like the kingfisher chose a perfect spot for hunting.

The kingfisher is very recognizable due to its distinct, bushy crest and its dagger-like bill.  This bird was a female because of its blue-gray breast band and chestnut-brown belly band.

I’d not photographed a kingfisher before, so it was exciting to find this bird.  She was kinda cuddly-looking and appeared to be well fed.

It was getting too dark to take pictures, so we headed for home.  We were ready to turn on M-37 towards Traverse City when the sun took one last peek through the colorful sky.  Wow!

We were nearing home when I took one last look to the West.  I had to pull over and take a final shot of this beautiful afterglow.  What an evening!  Deer, cranes, a kingfisher, all capped off by the brilliant skies of the sunset.


  1. Beautiful and interesting collection of photos, Karen. I love the shots of the kingfisher!