Thursday, October 08, 2009

This post started out to be the fauna seen from dawn to dusk in a single day. It's taking my current gear far too long to get it assembled. Therefore an adjustment had to be made.

Readers of long standing will remember I have to load photographs onto the blog from last to first. This post will be the segment right before sunset. My apologies.

There is hope for the future though as Friday I have an appointment to have a 10x faster internet line put in. 10x faster isn't nearly as fast as it could be but 10x faster than what I have is 10x faster.

Ah yes, back to the photograph at the top. The raptor in that tree is a Red-tail. And I'm about 90% sure that that Red-tail is Steam as opposed to Mrs. Steam but I'm open to correction.

Steam has just flown in and perched on one of his favorite spots for not only hunting but also for spotting intruders. The Steams have had a bad day when it comes to intruders and Thresherman's Park has been alive with their Keeer-r-r keeer-r-r's throughout the day. Along with hot winging Red-tails zooming directly overhead, they're usually much more discreet than that here, complete with a variety of dives into the woods.

In the meantime, young Roger Sandhill does a few flaps and a wing stretch. He truly is a big boy with perhaps a little more than the usual wing span of six to seven feet.

I've crept up a bit for a better view and Steam is now looking south with focus.

Roger does another stretch, rather dwarfing his mother. Remember how some local folks told me that if one keeps the car running that the birds will be less likely to flush away? Well, with the cranes who aren't as skittish as some of the other birds that frequent the Park, I can turn off the motor of the car as long as I leave the radio playing.

Steam checks the view to the west.

Roger and Claire have found a particularly good spot, probably a cob of corn as they are overlapping one another. Dad Jamie would have given Claire the right of way and stood back.
This is only a single V of the Canada Geese that were in the air at this time. Towards sunset they take to the air to switch foraging grounds, often from water to land or in this case they could be forming up to continue their migration.
I always love to catch birds looking at me or at each other in flight. It's perfectly sensible, of course, as for them it would be similar to us walking and talking as we stroll along. But somehow being a human and not having flight capacity, flying seems like it would be something one would really have use one's whole focus on doing.

I'd discovered how to set the tripod and camera up inside the car and had been photographing from that rather cramped and precarious position. Then I got the bright idea that perhaps the Crane family had seen me often enough that I might be able to move the whole set up outside the car, where things would be easier. Nope, they took one look and started walking with some speed in the opposite direction.

And before I knew it they had taken to their wings.
And rather impressive wings at that. Though as it is cloudy and getting late, 6:15pm, perhaps it was the time of light that they would ordinarily go to seek their roosts anyway.
Suddenly Steam screams, zooms off toward the south woods, and disappears. By the way, the turning off the motor and leaving the radio play doesn't work with the park RTs. You turn the motor off, radio or no radio and they directly depart.

I pass by the oat field just in time to watch the last turkey in the row disappear into the north woods. Almost without fail outside breeding season the turkeys roost for the night in trees. I'm still not used to the fact that they can indeed fly and do perch on branches for the night.
On several occasions I've been walking quietly in the woods, and been startled by a sudden and incredible crash of something whacking into branches overhead. It's loud! Almost enough to make you jump out of your skin. I'd startled a turkey who was taking its ease on a branch, to take to its wings.

I start to hear a Blue Jay scold and look back. The Jay has taken over the tree where Steam had previously been holding sway.
Blue Jay now takes off. I'm not sure if it was because I was looking at him or the object of his scolding, likely one of the hawks, has moved and so he must move also to feel he's doing his job.
I've lightened the photo so we can see who we're talking about here but it is getting on to dark. And I too feel the need to find someplace to "roost". I head for home.
Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

Speaking of cranes, it's almost time for the Operation Migration folks teaching young captive-raised whooping cranes to migrate to start off this season.

The last I read, they were hoping to start tomorrow, Oct. 10th.

The Field Journal is at:

They've had a crane cam on the training area. I'm not sure if they are bringing it along on the migration or not. It's at:

I saved a screengrab from the cranecam this morning, just after a training flight had ended:


Donegal Browne said...

Thanks Karen! Every time they take off I always hope I'll catch a glimpse of the them heading south. Tonight, we had our first frost warning for southern Wisconsin so it is about time they were taking off.

This evening when I went to see the Sandhill Cranes, Jamie, Claire, and Roger, I didn't find them. They may just have been foraging elsewhere but then again, we may have seen the last of them for the year.