Sandhill Cranes at Sunset 4
I took my 8-year-old daughter, who loves both animals and photography, with me to watch the Sandhill Crane migration this year. 500,000 4-foot-tall birds stop in central Nebraska for six weeks each year en route from Mexico to Siberia. They spend their days foraging for food in cornfields near the river, but at night they seek shelter from animals in the wide, clear sandbars of the Platte River. It's quite a sight to see 10,000 squawking birds in one spot. Better yet, they all land and take off at roughly the same time each sunset and sunrise. It's only a two hour drive from our house, so we made it into a 24 hour camping trip.
This was the view from the Ft. Kearney State Rec Area bridge at sunset. The cranes were a good quarter mile to the west, directly into one of the prettier sunsets I've ever seen. You couldn't have asked for a better backdrop. This was all the closer I could get with my cheap Tele-Vivitar 400mm f/5.6 (M42) lens.
I entered this in the 2010 Nebraska State Fair photo competition in the "sunrises & sunsets" class, where it won 2nd place.
Best viewed on black.