Migration Wonders.

Saskatchewan is part of a major migration flyway for many birds, including Snow Geese and Whooping Cranes. Thanks to Sarah Wagner and her friend John, four of us headed out to an area north of Saskatoon where Whopping Cranes have been reported. Talk about a magical day. The light was superb with dark clouds in the east and the sun poking out of the clouds to illuminate the yellow aspen bluffs and harvested fields.

Needles in a haystack seems an apt description of looking for a Whooping Crane in Saskatchewan’s vast flyway for migrating birds. A few delights popped up along the way as we drove the back roads looking for tall white birds.

Here is a Ruffed Grouse slowly walking in a ditch deciding if it will take off in a flurry of noise and confusion to escape the pesky humans.

The afternoon sun kept daring us to ignore, yet another image illuminated with one of its quick peeks over the clouds.

Picking a lane way that led down to a lake revealed a spectacular sight. Well over 10,000 Snow Geese plus numerous Swans, ducks and a few Bald Eagles had chosen this as a spot to rest for some, and perhaps hunt for others.

Suddenly thousands of geese started to honk and rise up from the lake and swirl in intertwining circles to the instructions of an invisible choreographer.

Further on we stopped to photograph a beautiful golden bluff and then noticed two white pillars on a hill in the distance. (Just off to the right but not visible)

Sure enough we had spotted two adult Whooping Cranes and one young one. It is impossible to describe the emotions of being in the presence of a species that has suffered so much and managed to stay alive and continue to slowly expand the population. Whooping Cranes were hunted almost to extinction in the early 1900s with only 14 birds remaining. Conservation efforts have restored the numbers to around 850. Thanks to Jim Lee, president of the Saskatoon Nature Society for a recent article on Whoopers.

Two adults and one young.

At one point a Black-billed Magpie flew in and disturbed the Cranes.

A short time later some Sandhill Cranes flew into the same spot. This action was not appreciated by the Whoopers as the largest one flew over and tried to chase them off.

You will also notice that all three Whooping Cranes have leg bands/transmitters as part of the ongoing efforts to grow the population.

Here is a short Giff of the action. Click HERE.

With the sun continuing its inevitable decent into the golden hour we chose to begin our journey back to Saskatoon. As part of this magical day the photography gods continued to play with the dark background clouds and popping sun rays to feed our souls.

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  1. Miranda October 16, 2023 at 5:49 am #

    Wow Trent! If you keep this up and I might have to start painting landscapes!! Your photographs are truly inspiring! Wish I had been there to see those whoopers! Thankyou.

  2. Kelly Koski October 15, 2023 at 7:56 pm #

    Trent, your photographs are captivating!
    The barn, trees with their autumn leaves, the prairie, the thousands of snow geese and my favourite, the picture of the Grouse!
    All those snow geese…the true definintion of an uplifting rush!!
    An added plus, is your story telling!
    Thank you so much,Trent!!

  3. John Gordon October 15, 2023 at 7:30 pm #

    A superb portfolio of images, thanks for sharing.

  4. Robert October 15, 2023 at 6:59 pm #

    I’m not just wowed by the gorgeous photos, I’m learning stuff here too! Thanks Trent!

  5. Farook October 15, 2023 at 4:22 pm #

    Fabulous pictures. Beautiful light.

  6. Joe Shorthouse October 15, 2023 at 2:35 pm #

    Trent, this is your most spectacular series yet of photographs and descriptions. They brought me back to my Saskatchewan days from 1970-1974. I remember many similar fall scenes, but never saw a whooping crane. We are blessed that you share your beautiful work with others. From Sudbury, Ontario, thank you my dear friend.

  7. Ray Romanski October 15, 2023 at 1:18 pm #

    These are amazing. Thanks for sharing them Trent.

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