My friend and I were roaming the back roads last Sunday in an attempt to find a snapping turtle. We saw turtles in the lakes, but none on the road.
The first bird we spotted was the sand crane. I’ve taken photos of them before, in Florida. I sat in a park and a pair of them moved around me as they ate. They were totally unafraid. Here’s a pic of one of them.
Imagine being so close to these gigantic birds, you can almost reach out and touch them. The birds are a good three to four feet tall. I took lots of photos; the place was Moon Lake.
Here’s a photo of the sand crane I took last Sunday.
I was a good distance away this time, shooting from the road while the crane moved deeper into grass. The coloring of the birds are different, depending on location. The ones in Minnesota are distinctly brown and a bit smaller. Eye color is different as well. I was maybe fifty-sixty feet away. (Love the super zoom on my camera!)
The next bird we spotted was the swan. I took many photos of them, floating on the water, but it was the nesting swan that captured my attention. Source here. Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator, is a special concern bird in Wisconsin. Adults have all white plumage, a black bill with a narrow, salmon-red stripe along the base of lower bill, and a wingspan of nearly 8 feet. Most Trumpeters weigh 21-30 pounds, although large males may exceed 35 pounds. Individuals can live to 20-30 years of age. Juvenile Trumpeters are sooty gray with black-tipped, pink bills. They do not become all white with a black bill until about a year old. Trumpeters are often confused with other white waterfowl, especially Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus). Trumpeter Swans are migratory birds that arrive in their breeding grounds in late April soon after ice melt in early spring and leave for their northern wintering grounds in September shortly before freeze. Trumpeter pair bonds mate for life and normally choose their 6-150 acre nesting territory near where the female (pen) was hatched. If a pair uses the same nesting location two summers in a row, they form an almost unbreakable attachment to the site. The pairs begin building their 6-ft diameter nests in mid-April on top of muskrat or beaver lodges or on mounds of emergent vegetation. The pen lays her clutch of 5-9 off-white eggs between late April and early May (they were late this year, due to the unusually cold weather). She incubates the 4″ by 3″ eggs for about 33-34 days while the male (cob) defends the nest. The cygnets hatch in June and fledge at about 14 weeks of age. They spend the rest of the summer preparing for migration with their parents to ice-free streams and ponds.
Again, I was on the road and shooting through foliage. I was at least sixty feet away, perhaps more.
The last photo was a special treat. We stopped by to say hi to my friend’s neighbor, and he invited me to take photos of baby chipping sparrows who were only a couple of days old.
My Canon camera has a twisting view screen, and so I was able to stand next to the bush their nest was in, hold the camera up over my head, and shoot down into the foliage without disturbing them. The view screen is one reason why I stick with Canon.
I find nature endlessly fascinating. I never tire of taking photos of the creatures that cross my path. It reminds me we share this planet with a beautiful myriad of beings who have much to teach us.
See you Friday!