Monday, January 31, 2011

Sandhill Cranes 2011

Sandhill Cranes 2011

I always knew he would be Outstanding in his Field. :-)

These large cranes are found during the winter months in the Sulphur Springs Valley area of Southeastern Arizona. They begin to arrive on their migration as early as September and may stay as late as March. Most of the cranes are in the area from November through February. The 2011 Wings Over Willcox festival had Sandhill Crane numbers of 29,900 in the Sulphur Springs Valley. We have been making annual treks to the area the last few years and always have a good time exploring. The cranes are incredible to watch, though I hear some of the locals are less than pleased with the noise they make and all of us visitors cluttering up the area. We have made a couple of treks this year to the Whitewater Draw area with another trip possible depending on work schedule and weather.

Of course there is more to see than just the Sandhill Cranes. The area is home to several species of birds, as well as other wildlife. There are several areas to see the cranes, but Whitewater Draw has always been the best in our experience. The key to it all is to get out and enjoy nature. You never know what you might find.

The incoming flocks of birds looked like gnats...

One minute they were all sitting there resting. The next minute the were spooked and took off in a huge group. Some went on way and some when the other. All circled around for several minutes before coming back to the pond. I thought I saw an eagle, but can not be sure. Bobcats and coyotes also prey on the cranes. What a cool experience!

Snow geese were in the area as well. They took of as well.
They took off when the hawks came by though too.