Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge

Yesterday, we drove from our campground up to the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge to see the Sandhill Cranes. It was cold and windy but the birds were spectacular. I was hoping to see the rare Hooded Crane which has drawn birders from 41 states and 11 countries but it wasn’t there – it showed up about an hour after we left. (I did see a lone Ross Goose with the cranes – a life bird.)

Above you see thousands of sandhill cranes lifting off as something unidentified, probably a bald eagle, stirs them all at once.

The Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest sandhill crane staging areas in the east, second only to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana. Sandhill cranes to feed and rest as they migrate south to Georgia and Florida for the winter. As many as 10,000 may remain, over-wintering in Tennessee.

There were also several Bald Eagles along with Canada Geese, Great Blue Herons, and assorted gulls and ducks. A nice representation of casual and serious birders as well and lisence plates from all over.

The first photo and some of the text is from a wonderful local blog by Vickie Henderson – http://vickiehenderson.blogspot.com/

Also check out http://vtairstreaming.blogspot.com/ where we blog about our travels with the Airstream.

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