We parked so we could get closer.
This must be the place!!!
We knew that the cranes moved around to different areas of the refuge at different times of the day, but this was a good sign. (no pun intended---well, maybe an advantageous opportunity for a good pun.)
There in the bottomland they were--thousands and thousands of them. This was quite a good distance away--the binoculars and zoom lens were essential to the view.
A real telephoto lens would have been even better, as this is the closest view I could get with the camera. We could definitely hear them even at that distance.You can see a close-up of a sandhill crane here.
We had driven around in circles and figure eights, and did give our new All Wheel Drive a good test on the gravel roads. It handled like a dream in some places we might have hesitated to take one of the other cars. After seeing the cranes, we headed for home with a stop for dinner. The Othello Sandhill Crane Festival 2012 is already on our calendar.