we decided to go and see the Sandhill cranes (I'm not sure what subspecies these were), migrating to Florida and north Georgia. Last year, over 15,000 of them stopped over. We were kept back quite far from the birds, who spend several days in a sheltered area on the river; it was difficult to see them.
Luckily, in a farmer's field right next to the road, a lot of them were feeding on the hay seeds. We scrambled up a steep bank to get this picture (along with many other birdwatchers). Watching them land, with their feet outstretched, dangling beneath them, I felt a catch at how vulnerable they are. And indeed the entire group of whooping cranes (actually 14 of 15) that had accompanied the sandhills died in the tornadoes in Florida last week. That represents the whole population born this year, I believe. (Speaking of weird weather patterns, anyone seen An Inconvenient Truth? we watched half of it in Sunday school; one of the group was in tears, and the rest not far from it. We'll watch the second half next week.)
After watching them for I'd say 15 minutes, we were interrupted by the "chirp" of a patrol car, and the officer advised us to "move your ve-hick-als" so we scrambled back down, and away.