Smack Dab in the Middle of Texas Hill Country

Smack dab in the middle of Texas Hill Country, I stepped out of the barndominium (yes, that’s a thing) and breathed deep of the chilly March air. The scent of cedar wafted toward me, but this was an unfamiliar variety. These cedars dotting the surrounding hills looked more like large round lollypop bushes than trees. Some of the largest were 12 – 15 feet in diameter.

Good thing it was slightly foggy that morning. Fog would help to cover our approach to the small lake on the game ranch. We were hunting, but not with guns.

Our cameras were locked and loaded (they were on and fully charged). If only we could approach the critters from the correct side. We knew they’d bedded down by the lake, but we didn’t know for certain which side. If we didn’t choose correctly we might spook them.
We heard them fly in late, after sunset the previous night—Sandhill Cranes on their migration north. Their raucous calls were impossible to ignore in the quiet country hills. The property’s small lake was one of their stopovers on their way to the Platte River in Nebraska.

It was a wonderful surprise for us. Now if only we could surprise the birds.

As we neared the lake we found precious little cover to hide behind. I crept low since I didn’t know how visible we were. The landowner (Texan to his core) made fun of my attempted stealth.

Two of the birds suddenly sounded the alarm. Approximately 100 cranes took flight in two waves.

It’s nearly impossible to tell what kind of birds they were from my grainy photos taken in the misty dawn so I didn’t include them here. But they left their tracks all over the shoreline.

Travel Light Dictionary of Terms
• Barndominium Barn – do – min – i – um
A barn with living space inside for the owner, usually a metal building because they are less expensive and quicker to raise than a traditional stick and frame.

Barndominiums are popular among country landowners, especially if they plan to build a house some time in the future. These barns come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. The large ones provide ample storage for equipment to care for the farm or ranch as well as comfortable living space.

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For the record here’s what Sandhill Cranes look like on the ground.

If you’d like to read more about the cranes, including how you may observe them, visit Outdoor Nebraska’s site: http://outdoornebraska.gov/cranes/and Platte River State Park: http://outdoornebraska.gov/platteriver/

What critters have you endeavored to photograph? Was there “one that got away?”

Tell me your story in the comments below.

Until next time . . . Travel Light,
SuZan

© 2018 SuZan Klassen


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