I couldnt resist putting up another shot of Sandhill Cranes this week. They are just incredibly lovely birds. Yesterday I went back up to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge in southern Colorado. Every year about 20,000 cranes come through the San Luis Valley on their way north to the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska. The valley is an arid one and thus water is vital. The 15,000 acres of the national wildlife refuge is critical habitat not only for the migrating cranes but also for ducks, avocets, ibis, rails, geese, snipes, coots and many more. The water, flowing off the high peaks surrounding the valley creates a ribbon of life cooridors throughout the valley.
Cranes may in fact be the oldest surviving bird species on the planet. In Nebraska, a skeleton of crane was found that dates back to around ten million years. Yes...you read that right. TEN MILLION YEARS.
Watching them dance and fly and strut you can't help but feel that they are ancient creatures.
Nikon D7000. Nikkor 85-300mm. 1/800s. f/5.6. ISO 200.