There really is 20,000 Sandhill cranes here, I couldn't believe it. This is just one part of the lake there's more scattered in other parts of the lake. This really is something to see, I feel so fortunate to be here.
I left the Pima County Fairgrounds this morning at about 8:30 and drove east with the sun in my eyes for about half-hour before I could turn off and head in a different direction. I passed through Benson, Arizona, and Tombstone, Arizona. Finally, I ended up near a tiny little town named McNealy, or Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, more accurately, which is a couple of miles from town. And I couldn't be happier.
I was hoping to get here early enough to find a spot to boondock since the Whitewater draw has a small area where it's okay to boondock for a few days. As luck would have it, I grabbed a spot to boondock about an hour before the boondocking area filled up, the nearby parking lot filled up, and the road that goes from the boondocking area to the parking lot filled up. Needless to say, it's pretty darn crowded, at least in the daytime.
But to me, it's going to be worth it. They're supposed to be around 20,000 Sandhill Cranes iin the area, along with many other waterfowl-type birds, so my uncanny ability to identify and properly name these different birds will come in extremely handy while boondocking here.
The busiest part of a Sandhill Cranes day is the early morning and late afternoon. So to be able to boondock right next to the lake where the Sandhill Cranes live is something I've never been able to do before, and it is going to make getting pictures early in the morning and late in the afternoon a lot easier than having to camp five or ten miles away from where the birds live.
So far, all the people I've seen here are late middle-aged or old; I don't think looking at birds is something that appeals to young folks that had rather waste their time listening to music and going on dates. Most of the people here are carrying a camera, and quite a few are big lens folks that know what it takes to reach out and touch a bird that's 100 yards away; I figure it's easier and cheaper to wait for them to come to me. Of course, it helps a lot if you look and smell like something a bird wants to eat.
Everyone here are birders and bird photographers. I'm neither one, but I fit right in just the same
That's the bronco boondocked in about the middle of the picture. I'm at Whitewater draw in southern Arizona, at the Saggy Bottoms boondocking area. I'm actually not that comfortable being this close to the southern border, but there's a lot of people around so I feel pretty safe. If I was out here by myself I think it would give me the willies, but seeing this many Sandhill Cranes in one place is worth it.
This is called "the barn." It looks like it used to be hay storage for a farm or ranch back in the day, but now it's home for a few Hoot Owls.
This is one of the owls that calls the barn home.
There's a lot of different waterfowl around here, in the foreground there are snow geese, in the middle are Sandhill Cranes, and in the background are Pelicans.
On a completely different subject. This is my favorite quilt at the Quilt Fiesta. I think what made it so special to me is the 3D quality it has, and I'm not sure how that was done.
This is a close-up of the golden Parrots wing in the picture. I was hoping someone might know how this was made, it was the only quilt I saw made like this that has a 3D look.