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Sandhill Cranes, Tanana Valley Alaska

Discussion in 'Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements' started by j_inalaska, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Does anyone have any advice as to when the best time to photograph these guys. Doing a Goggle search, they say the migration is at the end of Aug.? I just know I have seen them earlier in the Soldotna area? Am I wrong?

    I really want to photography these guys, and have not been successful here in Soldotna. I will travel to find them .... if it is in Fairbanks, well, have never been there and would love to see the area.

    Any advice would be appreciated!!

  2. Jen,

    The lesser sandhill cranes are headed to the Arctic now to nest - I saw tens of thousands of them along the N. Platte in Nebraska about 4 weeks ago and now many of them should be heading north.

    I have seen large numbers of sandhill cranes in Denali and near Wasilla in late August/early September as they migrate south with their colts. Michael Forsberg writes that over 200,000 of them (roughly half of all the lesser sandhills in N. America) pass through south-central Alaska so you should be able to find some there in the fall.

    These were near the Univ. of Alaska/Fairbanks agricultural field near Wasilla last fall (September 10th to be exact):

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  3. I just want to go and be able to photograph them ..... I am from Soldotna and can make the drive. Just would really be nice to know where to go for the photo opps.??? any suggestions? I am willing to camp in my car, just want to experience, to see, and photograph this awesome birds!

  4. jeremyInMT

    jeremyInMT Guest

    Looks like little big man mentioned some places you could go.
  5. Toklat


    Aug 31, 2006
    Beautiful shot Sean! I really like those sandhills with the backdrop of Pioneer Peak north summit. Nicely done! 400+TC?

    there is actually a Sandhill Crane festival in Fairbanks the last few days of August.


    I have seen them by the many hundreds overhead in Denali but not on the ground. The west side of Cook Inlet south of the West Forelands in the Kustatan area was pretty reliable. That's not far from Soldotna but you will need a plane to get there.
  6. Thanks guys for the info ... they are such beautiful birds ... nice image Sean.

  7. Thanks John - yes, 400 plus the 2x TC and cable release. If only I could have them spread out just a touch more.

    Jen - cranes frequent in agricultural fields during the daytime, especially fields with cereal grains and corn, so you'll want to look in agricultural areas to find them. They build up their calorie reserves for the long migration by digging up seeds, roots and waste grain. They return to the marshy ponds and riverbanks at nightfall. If you make it to the Fairbanks crane fest, please post back - I've traveled to 5 different states to photograph cranes and been to many crane fests, but not the one in Fairbanks!


  8. Sean,

    The 2nd one is mighty cool! I like it.
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