Drags On The Rio Grande


After fording the shallows of the west fork of the Rio Grande to one of the large sandbars in the middle of the river, I was faced with a forest of salt cedar interspersed with thorny Russian Olive Trees as I bushwhacked my way across the sandbar to see what was happening along the wider, deeper water running on the east side of the sandbar. Figuring they were hidden from the shutters and eyes of humans they commonly see along the accessible areas to the river, the Sandhill Cranes were playing games, drag racing to be more specific, very much like what you might see in an old Far Side comic.

As I emerged from the orange-yellow briar patch, a couple of Sandhill Cranes took off in a race down the river, while another pair quivered behind the barbed wire starting line ready to start their drag race down the river. I was able to catch the second pair on film and narrate the action in each of the photos below.

Spiky thorns on Russian Olive branches that grabbed and tore at my clothes as a made my way across the overgrown sandbar.


Quick Silver in front and Light Speed in back at the barbed wire starting line.


They are off with Quick Silver getting the jump and Light Speed.


Quick Silver opens a up a gap


Light Speed kicks it in the turbo and goes into warp speed


Light Speed catches Quick Silver and they are neck and neck


Light Speed surges past Quick Silver to take the lead


The race ended when they caught the two cranes that started their race as I came out of the thicket.




28 thoughts on “Drags On The Rio Grande

    • Thanks, Julia. The settings for all the cranes in flight, except the last photo, were 200mm at ƒ/6.3, 1/40 sec shutter speed at 100 ISO. All handheld. The shutter speed was 1/200 sec in the last photo.

  1. What a fabulous set of images to wake up to this morning! I *know* what you went through to get those images, which makes me appreciate them even more. My very favorite one is of Light Speed kicking in the turbo 🙂 ))))))))))) They are are wonderful!

  2. I like how you captured the movement with blurs and all. I miss those Far Side comics – the only reason for a newspaper subscription. 🙂

  3. Bravo, Tim! What an interesting and beautiful series of the cranes in flight, racing no less. It was well worth tromping through the salt cedar and Russian olives. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s