Anniversary Cranes

Sandhill Cranes Reflecting

This past Monday was Jim and my twenty-fourth wedding anniversary, which really isn’t too bad for a late-in-life marriage.  (He was forty-four, I was ten years younger.)

We decided to spend the day together, doing something off our usual routine.  I’d read a nice article by Jon Knudsen about the Ladd S. Gordon Complex, about an hour’s drive south of Albuquerque, and we decided to give that a try, especially since there was a driving tour trail.

Since I have asthma, and Jim is recovering from knee replacement surgery, we’ve been very careful about social distancing, so an outdoor outing in winter, when we were not likely to run into crowds, seemed about perfect.

The weather was cool and overcast as we bundled ourselves, a picnic lunch, and a thermos of coffee into Jim’s SUV.  On the way down, we chatted and looked at the landscape, which was beautiful in the bleak and barren way of winter in the southwest, where you see the bones of the earth barely covered by vegetation.  On this particular day, when clouds from an impending snowstorm were scuttling back and forth, the sky provided a vivid and lively contrast.

When we arrived, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  I think we saw a total of five other vehicles as we slowly drove the three mile the touring loop.  At first it seemed as if the birds had all gone away as well.  Then we found out where they were hanging out, and Jim’s camera went to work.

Sandhill Cranes Among the Trees

I enjoyed seeing how the cranes used the different elements in their environment, especially how well they blended into the trees, which is something I’d never really considered before.

At the final end of the loop, hundreds of cranes were busy foraging in the cropped fields.  Most faced one direction, but in every group there would be one—I presume a look-out—facing the other way.  As we left, I suppressed an urge to wave and say “We’ll be back!” but I feel very sure that we will.

Sandhill Crane in Flight

6 Responses to “Anniversary Cranes”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Thanks to Jim for the great photos! and Happy belated Anniversary!

  2. Deborah Daughetee Says:

    What a great way to spend your anniversary. Tell Jim the pictures are awesome!

  3. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    Happy Anniversary! 🎉That sounds like a fantastic way to spend the day.

    Thank Jim for the pictures. I am a bird lover and caught (took a picture of) a Goldfinch resting in my Pecan tree yesterday morning just after sunrise. I was very excited. They’re so little and so fast.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Yes… Goldfinches are really hard get get photos of, so congrats. Jim has a on-going quest to get a good picture of our resident towhee: He Who Never Holds Still. I’ll share your compliments.

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