“Two Sandhill Cranes flying in low to the left” called a voice, hidden behind an enormous lens. “Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatat” - twenty cameras rattled off continuous shots as the birds approached. The cranes fanned their enormous wings, slowing themselves down and landed amongst the swelling flock.
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was at its prime. Hundreds and hundreds of cranes were returning for the night, ready to rest after feeding on fields throughout the Rio Grande valley. Another crane swooped down, the birds below raised their heads and honked in welcome. More cameras rattled. “I’m really eating up my CF card,” commented somebody dryly, “I’m going to have to spend all day tomorrow deleting bad pics.”
“We’ve got some blackbirds coming in from the right” called Ken, as a few small birds fluttered over the cranes. There was an icy silence, some of the serious photographers glared at Ken.
“Four cranes flying strait at us.” Cameras clicked. Cranes honked. The sun slipped behind a cloud. The golden light faded to a dull gray. Several photographers left in disgust. I couldn’t understand, even though the light wasn’t as pretty, there was still an amazing spectacle going on.
Ken leaned toward me and whispered, “I don’t know which is more entertaining- the cranes or the photographers.”