The Cranes are Back.

I was worried with the drought that the birds would skip us by. It seems they haven’t.

They were flocking over Lake Weiss this morning. Several small flocks of cranes and a huge flock of pelicans.

The featured image is from last year. More, I hope, this year to come.

Sandhill Cranes #birding

The Sandhill Cranes overwinter in northern Alabama near Weiss Lake. The flocks have been getting bigger as the word seems to be spreading among them. They concentrate on damp/flooded cotton and soybean fields where they can find various small creatures to eat.

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While we were parked and taking photographs several flocks flew in to join the main one. They spread out in the morning and then gather together. The next few shots show the process.

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They aren’t spooked by cars, so you can quietly pull off the road, turn off your engine and take pictures. These were with a relatively inexpensive 500mm mirror lens.

Wild Turkeys #birding

They’re back, they’re bold, and they’re native.DSC_0259
The turkeys are forming up into mixed flocks with several toms and a larger number of hens. In the next month they’ll partition into individual flocks with just one tom each. After the eggs hatch, we’ll see flocks of the chicks accompanying their father.
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More Birds.

Playing with my long (500mm) cheap mirror lens again. I set the shutter speed to 1/4000 (as fast as the Nikon will go) and let the auto-ISO handle the rest. It has a relatively fast f5.6 that cannot be changed. ┬áThe other caution to watch for is the T-mount. It can unscrew a little and loosen while the lens is on the camera if it isn’t in tight. ┬áThat will cause difficulty with focusing.

We have resident pelicans. They are supposed to be rare. Ours aren’t.

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The herons perch on stumps out in our little branch of Lake Weiss.

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The image quality isn’t perfect, but it could be a lot worse. Not sure how much is the lens and how much is the ISO/low light.