I hadn’t been to farm country in a few weeks so I headed there after dinner, hoping to find something interesting to photograph.
Right away, I got lucky. I saw a crane family with a juvenile, also known as a colt. My first young one of the season! They were grazing by the roadside in a field of long grasses, behind a farm where I’ve often seen cranes.
The colt was especially interesting to watch. While it had reached a mature size, typically about five feet in three months, it didn’t yet have the crimson caps or red eyes known to this species.
The parents were nearby but were busy with their own tasks of pecking for seeds and cultivated grains. Such a unique-looking bird!
Meanwhile, the young bird didn’t appear to be involved in much. It just stood there vocalizing. Perhaps, it was calling for its parents to come closer. Or it didn’t like my presence or Gracie's. She was hanging out the window quietly watching this strange critter.
The juvenile next began a series of unusual movements. It stretched out its long tail feathers and lifted its back leg. Was it going to dance? Or fly?
In truth, it was still pretty light out and I wanted to return to the marsh I’d discovered out by Anderson Creek. I approached the area with great caution because I didn’t want to flush another Great Blue Heron, as I had my last visit. The east side of the swamp has very dense vegetation but I spotted a Great Blue. It was hard to grab sharp focus on the bird because it was behind all the thick flora. It didn’t matter, however, since the heron took flight almost immediately. These birds are skittish!
Not finding luck at the marsh, I did one last swing through crane country. The family had moved a bit further up the road and were still busy pecking for food.
Even the youngster was getting into the act! I noticed the sun was getting lower and putting a combination of light and shadow on the colt.
I drove on to the intersection to turn around and head home, but noticed the two preening cranes had crossed the road and were next to a field of golden grass.