A TRUE TEST
WHOOPING CRANE (Radio equipped)
WHEN PHOTOGRAPHY STOPS AND CONSERVATION TAKES OVER . . . During some of the years we were “on the road” full time we spent a month or two each holiday season camped at the entrance to Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico, a dream location for photography. In December 1998, the last year that three of the Gray’s Lake Whooping Cranes made it to the Bosque refuge, we were able to see and photograph them several times. Early one freezing morning we and several other photographers were gathered on one of the roads watching one of the Whoopers some distance away when we noticed a couple of coyotes slowly approaching behind the crane. Great! We all got ready for some flight shots. Excitement quickly turned to horror, however, when the crane appeared to take no notice and we watched in stunned silence as the coyotes came almost within leaping distance. Even though we were probably too far away for the crane to hear us, we all abandoned our cameras and began shouting “Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly!” At what seemed the very last possible moment, the crane finally took a couple of strides and lifted into flight! Our anxiety relieved, we all returned to our cameras and then laughed as we realized that not one of us had “gotten the shot”! We don’t really believe that WE ’saved’ the Whooping Crane but what the heck?! We MAY have played a small part in the outcome, who knows? So many times it is so very difficult to stand back and watch nature’s plans played out . . . That was one.