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Sandhill Cranes At Monte Vista

Two weekends ago, I made a trip to Monte Vista. At this time of the year, many birds stop at the National Wildlife Refuge during their annual northern migration to the summer breeding grounds in the northern States and in Canada. On this visit, I planned to make images to hone my skills of birds in flight. Sandhill Cranes are large birds and their flight through the air is very graceful. Monte Vista is located in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, situated between mountain ranges to the east and the west. I have always wanted to capture Sandhill Cranes, in flight, against a backdrop of the mountains.

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Sandhill Cranes In Flight, Monte Vista

In the image above, I managed to capture these magnificent birds in flight and am very satisfied with the result. The lead crane is in sharp focus, and the two cranes on the right are a little soft. They are slightly farther away and just out of focus.

Here is another image of one crane, doing sentry duty, while other cranes are feeding.

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Sandhill Cranes, Standing Sentry

Another group of cranes were busy calling out to one another.

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Sandhill Cranes, Calling, Monte Vista

In this image, another group of three cranes are busy calling out.

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Sandhill Cranes, Three Cranes Calling

Another image of a very attentive crane.

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Sandhill Crane, Monte Vista

Sandhill Cranes usually create a mating pair for life. Every year they perform a dancing mating ritual. I captured one pair in the following image.

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Pair Of Dancing Sandhill Cranes

Finally, I managed to capture another three cranes in flight. In this image, all three are in sharp focus against a blue sky.

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Sandhill Cranes In Flight, No 2, Monte Vista

There were many other species in the Refuge — another time.

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