These are from a trip a couple of years ago to Lake Woodruff NWR. It is located in Volusia County, Florida near the community of DeLeon Springs. It is a very interesting NWR to visit and is surprisingly empty of visitors except for the Wildlife. If you see a few groups of visitors there it is not the norm. Many times you are there almost completely by yourself which because of the size it is a little strange feeling. The famed St Johns River forms the western boundary of the 22,000-acre refuge. The refuge contains a wide variety of habitats. Among them are marshes, swamps, creeks, hammocks and uplands. One of my favorite birds besides Bald Eagles are Sandhill Cranes which seem to really like this Refuge. On this day there were quite a few Sandhill Cranes roaming around the ponds close to the entrance. It is very strange to have a bird that large walk right up to you to check you out. Many times you are just a few feet from them. On previous visits they were more wary and did not get close. I was just using a Canon 7D with a 300mm lens for wildlife and my iP11 Pro for landscapes. The Featured Image is a 7 horizontal images panorama stacked vertically to get the whole Crane in. When shooting panoramas of slowly moving birds foraging you still have to shoot the sequence very quickly to have the images line up correctly without having to do a lot of touch-ups on the overlaps.
When we first got to Lake Woodruff NWR we started down one of the paths to one of our favorite spots to photograph. These 2 Sandhill Cranes landed right in front of us. Then to our surprise they started to mate right in front of us. They were so close I had to backup to get them in the frame. I was using a 300mm lens so I had to back up multiple times to get them in the frame. Then I just decided to shoot multi-image panoramas to get the whole crane in because they stayed so close to us as we walked the path. They stayed with us for about 20 minutes. It was strange that they walked right up to us within a couple of feet and sort of stared at us. But I was able to get full frame head portraits! Luckily my 300mm lens had very close focusing capability!