I made a trip over to the river the other day with plans to lock through so I could launch the boat without waiting in line at the clinton ramps. I like to get photos anyway, so putting in above the dam has more opportunities. I saw 4 sandhill cranes hanging around the lock road, one was even sitting in the road for a spell. They got off the road just in time as a semi truck went barreling by and would have killed them all. I just watched them from my truck and they aren’t afraid at all. Its only when people get out and start to go after them that they get scared and run into the woods or fly away. I noticed a pair across from michalsons ramp as well. They were calling out and even took flight on their own with no one chasing them. I drove by the road again and they were on the other side just as the sun was starting to shine on them.
I put in and idled around, I found 3 eagles nest with eagles sitting on eggs or little chicks. There was lots of ducks around, some pelican and one cormorant flew by. I’m sure the bird islands have the heron and cormorant making nests already. Fishing was slow so I quit early. I drove down the lock road and there was one of the guys I saw last year who insists on chasing the cranes to get close up photos. Most people like to do this, even birders. They think it doesn’t hurt to have one person get a close up shot and chase them around for a day since they drove hours to get there. What they don’t realize is that they are one of many that do the same thing. It’s one person after the other chasing those cranes, eagles, hawks and any wildlife they see. You can see their photos all over the internet and you can tell the ones who took photos from their car and the ones that chased them down. Last year I saw a group of people that surround the cranes and chicks so they couldn’t escape, so they could get their close up shots and with wings flapping as they were warning people to back off and even the chicks were flapping their wings. From then on those cranes would run into the woods anytime people came around. One chick was killed from being chased across the run when a car was going by. Please people, stay in your vehicles, you can get some great close up shots from there. Please realize that as soon as you leave someone else will come around and start chasing those cranes too.
When I was leaving and watching that same guy walking the road after the cranes, there was only one left, the others flew away (who knows how long he was there) and he was going after the last one, so no one else could get photos of the cranes or even see them. Be considerate of wildlife and other people who want to enjoy seeing the birds. Stay in your cars!