Can’t Make it to Bosque, Try This
Looking for Sandhills, find them in Indiana.
Bosque del Apache is still the supreme fall location to find Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese but Jasper Pulaski (JP) is a close second for cranes. Located in northwestern Indiana, just south of Valparaiso, JP is a prime migration point with end of November crane counts in excess of 28,000. The preserve does a great job of providing access to viewers and photographers with a raised viewing platform position right in front of the morning and evening gathering spots.
You are limited to viewing locations (primarily shooting due west) so the time of day dictates your shots. Evening shots are either difficult low light shots or some fantastic silhouettes as seen above. (click the images to see a high rez versions). Learn to take what nature gives you and you’ll come away with some great sunlit backdrops as the cranes arrive from feeding in the near by fields.
Get there at sunrise as the Sandhills arrive from their night time spots in the adjacent marsh and you’ll be treated to wave after wave of arriving cranes, just as the light gets really sweet. Arrivals and departures will continue until around 10:00AM. Just as the best light starts to slip away, you’ll get to witness a huge series of blast-offs as the cranes head out to the corn fields for daily feeding.
Weekends get a little crowded with fellow bird watchers and photographers – but weekdays are perfect for a relaxed adventure. The main parking lot is about an 1/8 of a mile walk from the observation deck and a dedicated handicapped parking lot is available right next to the observation deck. The deck is equipped with both stairs and an access ramp.
Crane populations have peaked but there will still be plenty of action through December.
Stay in focus,