For me the most amazing thing about the sandhill cranes is the sheer number of them. The flock which passes through Monte Vista, Colorado each spring is estimated at 20,000 birds. The staggering number has to be seen to be appreciated. During the day the birds scatter off to various fields, ranging for miles to feed on the grain leftover from the harvest but every night they converge again on the marsh to roost in the relative safety of the water. It’s an astounding thing to witness. As the sun sets over the mountains the sky fills with groups of cranes flying in. The silence is shattered by their trilling calls as they float down like parachutists, legs extended, wings spread, to land among the marsh grasses. Wave after wave of them arrive in a seemingly endless parade of birds which doesn’t end until long after the light has left the sky. When dawn comes the process is reversed as the birds leave in groups ranging in size from two to two hundred. It’s a thrilling sight to behold.
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400mm f/2.8 lens.