Thursday, April 17, 2008

Return of the Whooping Cranes

This according to Wikipedia : "As of April 2007 there were about 340 Whooping Cranes living in the wild, and another 145 living in captivity".

We are very lucky in Saskatchewan to play host to a few of these magnificent rare birds every year.
For the past couple of years I've been fortunate to see small groups of this Crane ( the tallest bird in North America) as they pass through our province and graze in the crop fields feeding mainly on waste grain.

Yesterday I had another chance to see this bird. There were 3 reported in the area of St.Denis.
This hilly region seems to be a favorite spot for this bird and its smaller cousin the Sandhill Crane and also many Geese.

Friends of ours were already at the location and kindly showed us the exact spot the birds were feeding, saving us the time of scanning the horizon for 3 white 'blobs'.

The Cranes were a good distance away but still gave us excellent views through binoculars and scopes and although the heat haze didn't help for photos much, I still had to get a record of the days sightings and couldn't go home without getting something with the camera.

I went for a more ' scenic ' look to these photos seeing as the birds were so far away. This captures some of the background landscape , and in one picture, the rolling hills :

Other birds seen on the day were as follows :

American Crow - 3
Common Raven - 1
Canada Goose - 300+
Cackling Goose - 10
Snow Goose - 400+
Greater White-fronted Goose - 14
Sandhill Crane - 100
Whooping Crane - 3
Red-tailed Hawk - 3
American Kestrel - 1
Merlin - 1
Great Horned Owl - 2
American Wigeon - 4
Canvasback - 2
Gadwall - 2
Mallard - 12
Northern Pintail - 10
Northern Shoveler - 8
American Coot - 1
Horned Lark - 20
Lapland Longspur - 50
European Starling - 5
Bohemian Waxwing - 45
American Robin - 5
Ring-billed Gull - 12
Rock Dove - 2
House Sparrow - 10


The Birdlady said...

How exciting! And the colors in your images are so relaxing...Magnificent birds and great captures.

Unknown said...


Hopefully the day will come when I can add them to my life list.

April said...

How wonderful to have these memories of the Whooping Cranes. Beautiful prairie scenes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
Your's is not bad at all, no sir ...
Great photos.

Nick S said...

Many thanks guys :-)

***Fotografia e Luz*** said...

Cranes in the family walk around the prairie, beautiful photos

Voz do meu Coração said...

Beautiful pictures of wildlife

Stacey Olson said...

Really cool to get the chance to see and photograph these rare birds. thanks for sharing!

david mcmahon said...

I'm an Aussie photographer, but I grew up in India, home to the Sarus Crane.

And the migration of the Siberian teal to the Calcutta Zoo every year plays a significant part in my first novel.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a wonderful sight to see. Seems like it was a good day for birding.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Fantastic sightings and wonderful pictures. The birds look so relaxed there. What beautiful scenery, too. I've only seen one Whooping Crane in my life and it was at a zoo.

Nick S said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. :-)

John Theberge said...

How exciting that you got to see these cranes even though they were far away. I like the shots you posted, they show more of the environment then the typical close up view.

Shelley said...

The contrast of their white feathers against the brown landscape is stunning.

Mike said...

Came to you via John Theberge's site. Great bird images. Feel free to stop by when you have a chance.

Jotter Jan said...

Wow Nick...what a thrill!!! You not only got to see Whooping Cranes but got to photograph them...great capture!!!

kjpweb said...

Wow - you sure can't complain about variety! Very interesting blog with great pictures. I will return!
Cheers, Klaus

Barbie ♥ said...

You did a great job with the scenic pictures - the birds stand out well and I love that old building in the background of the first shot. I hope these cranes make a come back and continue to thrill us all! Nice work, must be feeling better!

Nick S said...

Many thanks guys. I will stop by all your blogs , and have been very busy taking more photos by our river.
Finally kicked this flu bug in the butt !
Expect an update very soon :-)

Mel said...