Yesterday I drove the back roads south of my home and ended up making a big loop through Borger, Panhandle, and the outskirts of Amarillo, checking out the playas and fields for birds. None of these places are really that great for photographing birds as they are all on private property and so I couldn’t get that close, but I did see lots of birds though a scope. I specifically was looking for Sandhill Cranes. A few years ago there were thousands of them that stayed for a few weeks at a large playa north of Panhandle, Texas. They grazed in the freshly harvested milo fields around the playa, and it was astounding to see and hear them in the early morning as the milled around in the playa and took off in groups to hit the surrounding fields. I haven’t seen that many in the last two years, though. The playa hasn’t had as much water in it and they haven’t congregated in such large numbers. The’ve also quite a large number of wind turbines around the area, and that could have some effect as well. I did run across a few smaller flocks in the fields around Panhandle as well as some hawks and larks, and even a few pronghorns.
In this image you can see some of the wind turbines in the background