Crex Meadows Sunset Sandhill Crane Migration Magic

As a wildlife photographer it pays to be good, but it also helps to be lucky! Yesterday evening I was driving home from the Twin Cities to Duluth. I convinced my wife that taking two hour detour to Crex Meadows to view the Sandhill Crane migration was a worthwhile activity. As I turned the car off Interstate 35 and drove towards Grantsburg, Wisconsin I wondered if I was foolish asking for this detour. Storms and heavy cloud clover were working their way through central Minnesota. However, in the west I saw a potential gap in the sky, and I knew thousands of sandhill cranes would be flying back to the sedge swamp to spent the night after having fed all day on corn in the surrounding farmlands.

Crex Meadows is one of the prime birding locations about which I have information on this blog’s “Minnesota Birding Locations” page (Crex Meadows is actually 10 miles east of the Minnesota border!).

Thus, knowledge if key for any wildlife photographer, but I had NO IDEA the skies would turn on fire. My hoped for gap in the clouds worked their way east, not SW or NE, and gave me phenomenal light. Here are the results …

Sandhill Cranes Flying Back to Crex Meadows at Sunset
(the third image was taken just before the sunset really got going … it shows how quickly light changes!)

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A photo after the Cranes had finished Flying, but the display was ongoing!

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