My photo club went on a field trip to Birchwood, Tennessee on Saturday to see the Sandhill Cranes that were migrating south. We had a nice time but had missed the bulk of the cranes. The area we went to had hosted over 10,000 of the cranes as they migrated in the weeks prior to our visit. There were several people at the site who had pictures from two weeks before that showed the cranes so thick that you could hardly see the ground where they were standing. They were all surprised that the birds had apparently moved on because they were normally there into February. We did see some eagles, pelicans, ducks, and whooping cranes ( which are almost extinct in the US). Unfortunately for me they were too far away for me to get a shot.
We visited the Chief Vann house in Chatsworth, Tennessee on our way to see the cranes. The house was very interesting and the history behind it was something I was unaware of. It was sad to see how the Indians were mistreated and how the Indians had mistreated their black slaves.
When we got to the area where the cranes were supposed to be I could only see a few of the birds. There was about a hundred or so of them about a half a mile away from the observation deck we were on. Since the birds are protected we were not allowed to get off the deck and walk into the field where the birds were. Some of our group who had been there before said that the birds would fly over the observation area on their way to roost at sundown. When a group finally came our way they stayed about a hundred yards from the deck. I was using a 70-300mm lenses on an APS-C camera with a 1.6 crop factor. That gave me a 480mm lens equivalent. When I processed my images I cropped out about two-thirds of the image that was just sky so you could at least see the birds. Several people were shooting with 600mm lenses so they got some decent full size images. Here are the ones that I managed to get.
We had a great time even though the birds weren’t there in huge numbers. I will probably go back next year a bit earlier so I can see them at their peak volume.
Until next time —