The Return of the Sandhill Cranes

pen and ink, colored pencil, sandhill crane, crane, wildlife, nature, photography, Poison Lake, Ash Creek Wildlife Refuge

Sandhill Crane

The Sandhill Cranes returned to Northeastern California late this Winter.  I have been fortunate enough to see them on several occasions.

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

A lone crane feeding at Poison Lake.

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Sandhill Cranes

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Poison Lake

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Cranes with friends.

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Which way do we go?

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Solitude

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Ruffled feathers

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

I think Big Bird must have been a crane.

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Poison Lake

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

Sandhill Cranes of Ash Creek Wildlife Area.

crane, Sandhill Crane, Nature, wildlife, photography, California

48 thoughts on “The Return of the Sandhill Cranes

  1. I love this. We had them build a nest in a tree in our yard once…. We learned on major thing… They were down in numbers and we think we know why. They are the worst next builders. It was at the very top of the tree… And they did use big long sticks to build the nest. But there were huge gaping holes in it and yes the eggs are large but still the holes were larger. When they sat on the next we heard sticks breaking. It was awful. We were nervous wrecks. We went on vacation and they all were gone… So we have no idea is the babies actually survived. There were two.

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    • Thank you Annerose. It is fun to get the chance to photograph them. It isn’t every year I’m in the area when they are. In about a month Poison Lake will be a gigantic marsh and in three months it will be completely dry. It is always beautiful when it is full.

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  2. I enjoyed these pics a loit. Very nice. Sandhills are some of my favorite birds, I listen for their call in flight as they move to the south of Texas in the fall. Some people think they are hearing Canadian geese but they are really sandhills. The geese fly over too but I didn’t hear any this past fall. The geese and cranes visit the rice fields. There are some nice wildlife sanctuaries in south Texas. On a bit of a different note- rice farmers have not been having good years of late. Drought played a big part plus I think prices went down as well.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the photo Yvonne. There is a lot of rice grown here too. In the valley they grow the white rice and in the Northeast part of the state it’s wild rice. The rice field are flooded now. I don’t know how it will be for next year, because we are at about 30% for our rainfall this year. It will be a drought for us this year for sure. Not as bad as Texas yet.

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      • Thanks Tim for the reply. I was not aware that wild rice is grown in Northern California. I like wild rice and buy a mix of wild rice and brown rice. Sometimes just the wild by itself though. I like the taste very much.

        It seems that lots of places are short of rain. It sure is a sad situation when farmers can’t grow a decent crop because wildlife suffers as well- no grazing or other food. the aquifers are being depleted in some areas and the rivers/lakes don’t have enough water. The land and its resouces simply can not support over-population.

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        • Drought really changes the carrying capacity of the land, that is for sure. I believe in many cases the farmers and ranchers irrigating actual help the wildlife here, because there would be no water in some areas were it not for that. Here in California it is a constant battle over water. I just hope the farmers can continue to get an adequate supply. Since we don’t irrigate in forestry, we don’t have that problem, but during the drought many trees become weak and die. Then we go into salvage logging mode to try to harvest them while the wood is still good.

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    • Thank you so much Annie. They are such impressive birds. I always feel lucky when I get to see them. It still looks a bit chilly in Minnesota. We are feeling like summer here in Northern California, already highs in the mid 90’s.

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  3. I love your crane drawing. The pictures are fun and interesting, too. We have sandhill cranes in the area, but I have never seen them. We do get great blue herons here regularly on the lake. I saw two today. Fishing must be good.

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  4. Simply wonderful, thanx for these amazing pix, Mr Forestartist… 🙂 these elegants birds have reminded me of the gracious red cap cranes from Hokkaido, Japan… Merci beaucoup for dropping by our international playground! 🙂 Friendly greetings from Toulouse, France, my very best and have a great weekend! Respectful regards, Mélanie

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  5. Awesome drawing of the crane, Tim. These are beautiful birds. I always look for our blue heron when down by the pond. I can sit and watch him forever. I never see the pair together. They are so graceful… fragile.

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    • Thanks Leslie. The herons are so beautiful. I have some heron pictures to post sometime. Mary I returned from Nevada yesterday and drove past Poison Lake. The cranes were out and the sun was shining so we stopped and took a bunch of pictures. Great fun!

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  6. Your art is beautiful. You are a beautiful, delicate artist. Just lovely.

    The cover of your book I really liked, too – great stuff.

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