Two Sandhill Cranes circling to landTwo Sandhill Cranes circling to land – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

“On motionless wing they emerge from the lifting mists, sweep a final arc of sky, and settle in clangorous descending spirals to their feeding grounds. A new day has begun on the crane marsh.”

Aldo Leopold

Even though I can’t see them with my eyes as I write this I can imagine Sandhill Cranes waiting for the first rays of the sun to reach the marshes where they spent the night.

Sandhill Crane braking for landingSandhill Crane braking for landing – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Before the sun fully rises the cranes awake in the chill of the dawn and they begin to call. Their bugling calls are answered by other cranes and those calls can be heard for miles if you listen for them.

Pair of Sandhill Cranes on a stubble fieldPair of Sandhill Cranes on a stubble field – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

They take flight, calling as their wings lift them above the marshes, calling while they fly to their morning feeding grounds and calling as they land. Their calls are the call of the wild to me and always will be.

Three Sandhill Cranes in morning flightThree Sandhill Cranes in morning flight – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

As the cranes on the ground start to feed more calls can be heard overhead as swoop after swoop of cranes announce their impending arrival to the feeding grounds. They land, they call, they dance and they feed.

Life is good.

Mia