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Hatch Day +1 (Sandhill Crane Colts from April)

This post continues my story of the adorable Sandhill Crane colt that I saw hatch this April.  Elated after such a fun experience, I returned to the nest the following morning, full of anticipation of the amazing photographs I would take.  Then Nature reminded me that photographers must be patient!  I sat at the nest for three or four hours, and barely got a glimpse of the babies. :)  It was a privilege just to be there, though.

Good Morning

Good Morning

I arrived at the nest just as the sun was peeking out over the horizon.  It was a foggy morning.  Mom was sitting on the nest, and Dad was digging in the grass nearby, looking for his breakfast.  I sat down with my cameras and waited.  Then a little orange colt popped out and said good morning to Mom!  He was only out for a second, but I loved how Mom turned to look at him and help tuck him back in under her wing.

It's Your Very First Morning, Little Ones!

It’s Your Very First Morning, Little Ones!

After an hour or so, Mom finally stood up.  Dad came in to supervise as the babies toppled out from underneath Mom.  My little colt that I had seen hatch the night before was all dried off and ready for his first day of life.  It was pretty easy to tell which was the older colt, as the youngest was still a little shy and not too firm on his feet yet.  I watched him learn to walk that morning.

Nose to Nose

Nose to Nose

Sandhill Cranes are such patient, gentle creatures.  I loved how Mom reached down to check on her colts, and this little nose-to-nose moment was very tender.  Then I guess she decided that they needed another nap, because she lay down again, tucking the colts back under her wings.  Not fair!  I sat patiently (ok, maybe not so patiently) for another hour before she decided to let them back up again.

Hello There!

Hello There!

At least the sun was out by the time I had another colt sighting.  The fog had burned off, and after a good long wait, I saw Mom’s feathers moving a bit.  Then out popped a little colt head!  It was the older colt, and he was ready to go exploring.  He didn’t let Mom tell him to take another nap.  He took matters into his own (slightly unsteady) feet and wandered out onto the nest.

Hi, We're New Here...

Hi, We’re New Here…

My last shot of the morning was the two colts together on the nest after Mom flew off in search of breakfast.  The older colt is on the right, making his way down to the water to swim after Mom.  “My” younger colt sat quietly on the nest, watching and waiting, seemingly unsure of what to do.  He didn’t seem to believe that he, too, could traverse the narrow passageway of water that separated him from his mom!  But eventually he did.  Nature is pretty cool, when the bird you see come out of an egg at 7pm at night is already swimming by 9am the following morning.

More on my cute colts in the following post…they were much more active on my next visit!! :)

It’s Not Easy Being Me! (Sandhill Crane Colts from April)

I don’t have a lot of time for a blog post tonight.  I’m doing a weeklong training session at work, and I’m exhausted.  Stuffing definitions and acronyms into your head all day is hard!

Peek a Boo

Peek a Boo

I keep promising more pictures of adorable Sandhill Crane colts, so tonight we’re going to start that series.  Regular readers of my blog may recall the amazing day back in April when I got to witness the hatching of a Sandhill Crane colt.  It was without a doubt one of the most amazing experiences that Nature has shared with me.  So of course, I returned to visit “my” babies the next day.  And the next day.  And the next day.  I’m still processing images from those wonderful moments.

Tonight I’ll share a video of my family of cranes, taken on the night after the babies were born.  The youngest chick was about 24 hours old at the time, and his big brother was only about 12 hours older.  They returned to their nest after a long day roaming in the grass with Mom and Dad.  They were covered in grass seeds, so Mom told them to take a bath while she tidied up the nursery.  But being normal kids, they didn’t listen well to Mom, and instead started fighting.  Somehow the younger chick ended up on his back, with his legs flailing in the air.  Mom seemed unconcerned by the state of her youngest offspring.  I guess she wanted him to figure his own way out of his predicament!  Dad flew in a little while later, but he didn’t help the little guy either.  Finally it was Big Brother who helped him up…by poking at him until he rolled over!

My little colt looked over at me and seemed to say, “It’s not easy being me!”  Then he continued fighting with his brother.  The next morning, I confirmed that neither of them got their baths that night! :)

Crazy Photographer Alert

After reading my last post about our trip to Fort De Soto, Rich looked over at me with a sad face and said, “But you didn’t include my pictures of the crazy photographer!”  I’ll share with my blog readers the conversation that ensued…

Jess: Did you send me those pictures?

Rich:  No, I’ll do it right now.  I made several images of you while you were photographing the sunrise.

Jess thought-bubble: He called them images, not photos or pictures!  Who is this, and what did he do with my husband?

Rich: I took care with the composition and photographed you with the Great Blue Heron.  It was my first of fall sighting of a crazy photographer!

Jess thought-bubble: It was his first of year sighting of the sunrise, too!

Rich: I may have over-exposed the sunrise but I captured your silhouette beautifully…

Jess: Well, I’ll have to include them on the next post!

So here you go.  Here are two of Rich’s images of me.  The first was from sunrise, when I spotted a Great Blue Heron wading in the water.  As often happens when I get over to Fort De Soto for sunrise, there weren’t many clouds in the sky, so I wasn’t too thrilled with the images I was making.  I waded out into the water, surprising Rich, who was still laughing at the fact that I was wearing my sweater on a hot September morning.  It was windy, and cold!  I squatted down in the water, getting myself soaked, and attempted to photograph the bird’s silhouette against the sunrise.  I like his shot better than mine.

Wading After the Sun

Wading After the Sun – by Rich

The other shot Rich shared with me was from the night before, when I photographed the sunset at North Beach.  He allowed me to enhance his image with Nik Color Efex in order to bring out some detail in the shadows.  I can still smell the salt air from that night as we lingered on the beach, watching the terns diving for fish.  I can’t wait to go back!

Sunset Shoot

Sunset Shoot – by Rich