Monday, January 05, 2009

Sandhill Cranes

This fabulous picture was taken by Bill Schmoker who kindly permitted me to post it here. I was hoping to have some images of my own but quickly realized the inadequacy of my equipment.

Saturday, we drove up to the Lodi, CA, area
, about 60+ miles from home to see the Sandhill Cranes. Rick had read Carolyn Jones's article in the SF Chron last week about these wonderful birds.

We took the
scenic route: 680 north to Hwy 4. We took CA - 160 across the Delta to CA - 12. We waved to Christine at Winnowings on her island out there. On our route we saw lots of birds, including raptors, egrets, and probably swans.

It was a cold, clear day and lots of other people read the article, too, and joined us at the windy Phil and
Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve which is actually on Woodbridge Road, north of Lodi. Because of the huge turnout, there was no organized tour but two volunteers and one person from the Department of Fish and Game were there with lots of info. California budget cuts to F&G prevent the department from taking tour reservations.

The "birders" all shared info at the Reserve South Unit meeting area on Woodbridge Road. We did not go to the North Site for the fly-in at sunset but we poked around nearby county roads adjacent to farmlands until after sunset and saw squadrons of birds stitched against the darkening sky.

This was our first trip to see these marvelous birds but I'm sure it won't be our last. Good binoculars are on my wish list.

The International Crane Foundation has pictures and some audio clips of the cranes' vocalizations.

Greater Sandhill Cranes are a protected species in
California. Lesser Sandhill Cranes are also seen in this area.

Check out many amazing
sandhill crane pictures at Bill Schmoker's sandhill crane page.

If you go, good maps are a must. Google maps provide good detail. We saw many birds on Cotta Road and Guard Road farms.


Christine Thresh said...

Thanks for waving as you went by. I might have been taking a nap.
You had a marvelous day it seems.
Is Phil Isenberg the former state assemblyman?

jpsam said...

Hey, Christine!
Thanks for stopping by. I looked up Phil Isenberg on the Wiki and discovered that he represented Sacto and surrounding area in the State Assembly. He was also mayor of Sacto. He is currently a law professor at McGeorge. Maybe he's a gentleman farmer. Or an honoree...

Chris said...

Gorgeous creatures! (You, too!)