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September 3, 2017 – Sandhill Cranes

If you live in Nebraska, these somewhat blurry photos are not a big deal . . . as each year 400,000 to 600,000 sandhill cranes—80 percent of all the cranes on the planet—congregate along an 80-mile stretch of the central Platte River in Nebraska.  There they fatten up on waste grain in the empty cornfields in preparation for the journey to their Arctic and subarctic nesting grounds.  But for birders in Maine, seeing a couple is quite rare.

We had heard via eBird that they were being seen in corn fields about an hour southwest of us, so Ingrid and I made the drive in a pouring rain storm.

The fields were filled with Canada Geese, and we quickly became frustrated as the rain and the distance made our binoculars useless.

Then as if on queue . . . the rain stopped and two Sandhill Cranes flew in from the south an circled the field twice, before settling in for lunch.   Then it started to rain again.

This was Ingrid’s and my 248th bird species of the year.