It has been a couple of weeks since I had been to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. On Sunday morning the weather was calm, the sky was overcast for great lighting and the summer heat had cooled a little. A good time to get back to the refuge.
I don't get to the refuge very often in the middle of summer first because of the heat and bugs and secondly because the birds are more scarce and the foliage thicker. As I entered the refuge, the trees and undergrowth appeared very thick. I could hear a number of birds chirping but they were very hard to spot and even more difficult to photograph.
A small secluded marsh area that usually had a couple of ducks or a Blue Heron or two was just ahead on the trail but impossible to see because of the thick and tall undergrowth. As I approached it and peeked around a bush to see what was happening I was pleasantly surprised to see a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the marsh totally unaware of my presence. I was very glad I had decided to wear camo from head to foot as these birds have been very fidgety this year. I was able to work my way around the brush and watch these really cool birds for almost 10 minutes. The camera shutter was clicking away and caught their attention but they could not locate the source of the noise. After awhile they started their loud calls and took off to another part of the refuge.
This little encounter was just fantastic as there was very little else to shoot that morning. The shot I attached to the blog is of one of the Cranes as she made her way out of a small wooded area by the marsh. I never noticed the ruffled feathers until I was screening my shots the next day. It was kind of an unusual shot for this bird.