For the second year I spent a few days on Manitoulin Island during the Sandhill Crane stop-over. It was about 12 years ago that the cranes began making the island one of their migration refuelling places. They feed on the grain fallen during harvest and on corn before and after harvesting. They can do a lot of damage to crops and this has resulted in farmers being able to get permits to shoot the cranes during harvest to keep them out of their fields. It also makes the cranes very skittish. Last year, before any permits were issued, if you stopped by a field the cranes would settle down after about 15 minutes. This year they would move farther away and/or fly out of the field.
I was told about a husband and wife wanting to get pictures. I have no idea what kind of camera gear she was using but the husband blew his truck horn to get the cranes to fly so that the wife could get her flight pictures!!!! Staying in your vehicle, for a blind, and being patient will give you good opportunities for flight photography as some cranes are always flying in and out.
The weather was beautiful and still lots of colour in the leaves and vegetation even though most of the cranes had flown on to Michigan for the next section of their journey south.
Saturday evening was the annual Manitoulin Nature Club crane count outing. About twelve people lined up along the side of a road to watch the cranes fly out to their roost lake at sunset.
The mornings were cold and crisp with frost-covered vegetation.
The difficulty of waiting until after Thanksgiving to travel to Manitoulin is in finding accommodation. Having back problems means that I don’t want to have to lug all my camera gear up two or three flights of stairs morning and night so bed & breakfasts are out. Not to mention that I want to be out long before others are ready to eat breakfast! On a number of previous of trips I used a cabin that suited me perfectly but that has been closed up permenently. Gordon Lodge just keeps on raising and raising their prices and has taken out the small fridges and microwaves. They want you to use their restaurant which was unavailable for three out of the four meals I attempted to get there last year. Now I’ve had my little rant!
From what I understand, there are several very good bed & breakfasts and they would be the best option for most people.
On the way home the beautiful rock surrounded by the coloured vegetation called to me many times. Unfortunately, the traffic was too heavy to stop and so those pictures remain memories.
All images taken with Canon 7D with 500 f4 IS lens plus 1.4 converter in most.
I have a Canon 40D for sale for $700 and Canon 1D MK2 for $1000. Both are less than you would pay on ebay!