This year I promised myself I wouldn't spend any time trying to photograph the cranes and, apart from a few shots of Sandhill Cranes I stopped to look at, any crane shots were purely incidental to some other bird I was watching at the time.
|White-naped Crane; the most elegant and photogenic of the Arasaki regulars.|
|Hooded; by far the most numerous of the crane species.|
There is a marked difference between the lightest and darkest Hooded Cranes. Immatures are always dark, adults vary from immature blackish-grey to Common Crane-grey. These two provide a good example of light and dark.
I'm not in a position to know what is and is not a hybrid Hooded x Common Crane but the following images I've taken in the past show birds I believe are hybrids.
|To me this is an obvious hybrid, it's distinctly larger than Hooded and has clear intermediate plumage features.|
|Two shots of a bird which looks closer to Common.|
Perhaps because I wasn't actually looking for them, I only saw single Common Cranes on two occasions on this trip. The first was a flight view only as it was heading away so I couldn't categorically rule out a hybrid. Below are images of the second bird.
|Part of the early morning gathering. Three Sandhill Cranes were conveniently at the roadside edge of the flock.|
The following morning four Sandhills were right by the road through the net fence as I was driving by and I had to wait for them to walk away far enough to get a shot over the top of the net.
|My best ever shots of Sandhill.|