Tag: Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area (page 1 of 2)

Weekend snapshots of Sandhill Cranes

This past weekend was spent mostly resting and catching up on some chores at home. Saturday afternoon we took a spur of the moment trip out to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area to view the sandhill cranes.

Our previous visits to see the sandhill cranes have been at mid-day when the cranes come in to feed at the wildlife area, so we thought it might be interesting to visit towards sundown. This visit, the cranes were closer to the viewing areas, so I was able to take some better pictures.

The water level was so much lower than in 2011. Here’s a picture I took in January 2011

And the same spot in January 2012

We did see a lot more ducks this year.

And this cute little guy.

Here you can see how shallow the water really was, as the previous bird walks past the ducks …

And on past some tumbleweeds floating in the water.

Last, but certainly not least, I snapped this picture of Bill and I. Can you believe it? I finally got a picture where we both had our eyes open and we were both smiling!

I love that our holding hands made the shadows look like a heart!

Sandhill Cranes – 365-034

sandhill cranes at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

Sunday we drove to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area to see the sandhill cranes return from their morning feeding to roost at the wetland. We first experienced this last year and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. It is quite a site to see hundreds and eventually thousands of sandhill cranes appear in the sky from the north (where their feeding ground is), circle around and land. At first all you see is a faint smudge on the horizon and then you can begin to see their v-formation. But long before that, you can hear them calling to each other, and as more and more birds land, the air is filled with their “trilling” calls.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with cirrus clouds in the sky early and then by noon the clouds had all dissipated.

Arizona clouds

sandhill cranes

There were many people there taking pictures with far better cameras than I have. This was the best my zoom function could do:

sandhill cranes

These ducks were much closer and more cooperative!

ducks at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

As was this duck.

duck

I just couldn’t stop taking pictures!

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

sandhill cranes landing

We picked the perfect day! At first it felt a bit windy, but as it got closer to noon, the wind lessened and the sun warmed us up. By the time we headed back to our car for our picnic lunch, it was warm enough to remove coats. What more can you ask for in January?

Because It Is Green – 365-032

wildlife refuge

Taken at the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Arizona.

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