Admittedly very soft & just a "Memory Shot".
The Cranes were too high, and the sky was too dark for a good shot.
Nevertheless, the tale behind the shot is interesting.
For well over 15 minutes, I kept hearing a chorus in the distance of a very familiar bird call.
However, I just couldn't place the call or source. It was a sound that was definitely unfamiliar to this marsh. But it was a call I knew well. Because it was nearly dark out, I ignored the sounds and started to put my camera gear away.
That's when the first flock flew over me.
There were no less than 50 Sandhill Cranes in the group. Unbelieving my eyes, I then pointed Big Bertha back at the sky to use as a spotting scope. The first group was gone, but a second (just as large) soon flew over. So amazed at what I was seeing, I even didn't think to push the shutter button until the final two trailers were disappearing from sight. However, this is proof that neither my eyes nor my ears were deceiving me.
What is strange about this tale is that there was such a large number of Sandhill Cranes at Squaw Creek. On occasion, one or two or three or so Cranes will occasionally stray to Northwest Missouri for a fairly brief stay. However, you will never see large numbers. I saw no less than 100 Sandhill Cranes that night. That is VERY unusual. I don't know if it has ever happened before.
Continuing Sandhill Crane calls (I finally recognized the sound that wasn't a normal part of this marsh) - from the direction in which the first two groups of each around 50 had come - indicated there could be more. Unfortunately, it was getting too dark for me to wait.
This certainly has been one mixed up Winter for migrating Wildlife.
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