Ray and I left at 3:30 am to catch the sunrise in the San Luis Valley on Sunday. We were curious to see how many cranes would be there during the festival.
There were more cranes than the last visit but not the numbers I expected. (Interesting article on Omaha.com: Early-arriving sandhill crane migration has experts curious )
The sunrise was beautiful. Really love this place!
I’m a little obsessed with owls so we drove around a bit after sunrise searching the Cottonwood trees on the refuge. I spotted a few nesting Great Horned Owls in the trees.
This pair were close enough to get a good shot:
I put my extender 1.4x on my lens so not to disturb the owls.
If you want to read up on the cranes I found an informative article on the Sandhill Crane migration in the Smithsonian
This past weekend we went to the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge. We wanted to go to the Bosque del Apache but noticed the dwindling numbers of cranes on various birdwatching sights, so we researched Monte Vista and the Sandhill Cranes stop at the refuge to refuel before they continue up North.
We were blown away, it was not like anything we have ever experienced, truly amazing. Birds were just pouring in from every direction and the mountains in the background were stunning. We at times were laughing because there was so much going on in every direction that I was spinning around with my camera shooting like crazy. The sound that filled the air was insane. It’s hard to imagine this is all going on just 2 1/2 hours away from where we live!
There is a Monte Vista Crane Festival in March to celebrate the cranes arrival. Not one for crowds we picked a good weekend to go, very few people were around.
I really didn’t want to go out into the cold this morning, it was 0 degrees. I’m glad I did, it was totally worth it.
This was the first time I had my camera while spotting a coyote and I spent 45 minutes watching this Bald Eagle eat a ground squirrel.