Blogging the world wide recognized photography of husband and wife photographers Jim & Phyllis Brandano who strive to make images not just take pictures of weddings, portraiture and nature fine art prints; being informative and entertaining with a touch of humor. NOT YOUR USUAL PHOTOGRAPHERS
Friday, April 15, 2011
CRANES FIGHT TO SAVE THEIR EGGS FROM FLOOD!
When I awoke this morning, it was raining: not that hard but you could tell it had been raining very hard. I ate my breakfast and read my emails and by this time, it had stopped raining. It was about 7:30AM and I decided to go check on the nests: both the heron's and the Sandhill Crane's nests. If you remember I had taken some images of the nest on an island in the middle of a pond. The parents were taking turns sitting on two eggs that I was lucky to photograph while one parent was turning the eggs over to insure they would be warm on all sides. Here is a photograph of the nest and you can see the eggs. As you can see, the island is large enough for the nest but not much else.
At least that morning it was! When I parked my car, as I usually do, I checked across the street at the crane's nest. The eggs were still incubating and not knowing when they were laid, I really had no idea when they would hatch. Each morning it would be a cursory look, just enough to see if the parent was still sitting on the eggs. This morning, as I looked through some shrubs, I could see not one parent but two standing near the nest. I ran back to the car, grabbed my camera and tripod and raced back to a spot I had found which gave me a good view. When I arrived, my heart sank. The two parents were not feeding two little chicks as I had hoped but were trying to save the eggs. Their nest was, for all practical purposes, gone as was the island: both were covered by water. I could see the eggs on a extremely small piece of land. The two parents were trying to build the island and nest, tiny piece by tiny piece.
You can see by where the water is on their legs that they had already been busy and somewhat successful. A gentleman who lives on the pond came over to tell me that when he awoke around 4AM the eggs were under water and the parents were frantically trying to rebuild the island. What we can see in this picture is what they had been able to build so far.
I watched for about two hours and these two remarkable birds would not stop! They just kept picking up pieces from the pond floor and throwing/dropping them at the nest and the eggs trying to save their children. It was a moment when I felt so helpless! I knew I could not walk out there without scaring the parents away, possibly for good. All I could do was watch them and hope that they would be successful. The biggest fear I had was that the eggs would be getting too cold without the warmth of the parents sitting on them. It was so inspiring and heart wrenching to watch these birds trying so hard: fighting to save their island, nest and family.
One parent walks over towards the eggs and the other parent.
Suddenly reacting in this manner...frustration?? I would think so but it then went back to the task at
I have written in a earlier post that photographing nature can be very difficult. I joke with Phyllis that nature gives and nature takes away. In this instance, it was man's work taking away from the image making process. The white (naturally) house on the opposite side of the pond and the white sky reflecting in the pond created problems that I'm sure you can see. The house's reflection was right over the eggs during the early part of the morning. I was using 1600 ISO and the light was really low in the overcast conditions. It was challenging but not as challenging as what these two cranes were going through.
I wonder what this parent is thinking??
I know there are a lot of images in this post (actually less then a third of what I took) but this is such a story of determination and parental diligence that I could not stop documenting it. Over the course of the last two weeks, I have seen these birds every day. I feel like I know them and to see them going through this was heart breaking! I could feel their frustration and determination and it made me proud.
You can see in many of these images, the parents throwing debris from the pond floor in the
direction of the eggs trying to build up the island/nest.
I eventually had to leave but I will be going back today and tomorrow morning. I'm hoping the water goes down or the parents can build up enough space for their eggs. Also that the eggs have not been damaged and that all their devotion and hard work pays off and they are able to save their family.
Again, I apologize for all the images but any less and I would have felt like I short changed you, the
reader but even more importantly, these cranes and their eggs.