Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sandhill Crane

Hiding in plain sight is possible!

Only thigh-high grass and one box elder tree kept this Sandhill Crane from discovering me and taking off. I had no time to hide and nowhere to go when he suddenly appeared from behind the only tree at the river’s edge.  The sun was just breaking over the trees on this calm, blue-sky day. He was looking for something to eat and the Milwaukee River's, Blue Heron Wildlife Sanctuary in Saukville was his breakfast choice.

With no way of blending into my surroundings, I just froze.  My only hope was to hide in plain sight.  My camera and tripod may have broken up my silhouette from the sun rising behind me, but I was sure he would discover me.  He was so close I could hear him walking. 
 For 45-minutes he patrolled the waters back and forth in front of me, turning over water plants looking for invertebrates.  He seemed comfortable and confident alone with his mate and offspring, so I felt like an intruder, but not enough to leave.  What he didn’t know wasn’t going to hurt him. 

She joined him and they patrolled together finding undistinguishable tidbits in the water as they walked side by side.    

Sandhill Cranes can live to be 20 years old.  They mate for life and migrate yearly with their offspring, mainly to Florida, Texas and New Mexico.  

The two adults turned upstream, and were joined by a younger one.  I suspect they were on their migration journey already.

I was lucky to have shared this spot on the river with them, hidden in plain sight.