John Van de Graaff

By VandeGraaff

Cranes Before Take-Off

This is a pair of Sandhill Cranes preparing for take-off, at the Bosque Del Apache NWR in New Mexico. The crane in front (probablyyounger, given its slightly paler plumage) is leaning forward--a sure sign that they will will take off in the next minute or two. It's early morning; they've spent the night in at least shallow water, safe from coyotes. This is the first blip from a ten-day trip to New Mexico that I will be backdating (2012-12-17 ff).

Bosque Del Apache is a wonderful National Wildlife Refuge about 75 miles south of Albuquerque in central New Mexico. The Rio Grande river runs through it and provides it with water to support the wildlife. It's best in winter, with at least 3o,000 geese, 12,000 sandhill cranes and several dozen bald eagles the featured birds, among many other species. (I've marked its location on the map, although the refuge is not specifically identified.)

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