Cranes, Eagles, and Kites, oh my!

On January 21st, we arrived in Hokkaido at 9:00 a.m. Our goal for the day was to make the 5 hour drive across the island and arrive at the Akan Crane Center in time for the daily 2:00 p.m. feeding of the cranes. The reserve feeds over 100 endangered Red-crowned Cranes during the winter months. The fish they put out for the cranes is often stolen by opportunistic White-tailed Eagles and Black Kites. With exactly 5 hours to reach our desired destination, we knew we’d be cutting it close. Luckily we arrived at 1:45 p.m., just in time to get set up for the feeding frenzy. The result was amazing. Take a look:

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Two cranes dancing together (something Red-crowned Cranes are famous for doing)IMG_4673A Black Kite posing for my camera!644A7366A White-tailed Eagle looking to steal some unsuspecting Crane’s dinner.

Here’s some of our other favorite shots from the day:

644A7242  644A7304  644A7323  644A7334  644A7342  644A7345    644A7443  644A7465  644A7518  644A7523  644A7582  IMG_4572    IMG_4674  IMG_4730    IMG_4896

 

The next morning, as the sun was rising, we positioned ourselves along a famous bridge crossing the Setsurigawa River. This location is known worldwide by wildlife photographers as it affords a picturesque view of Red-crowned Cranes awakening from their river roost. It was a great way to start our first full day in Hokkaido.

IMG_4918  IMG_4917  644A7859  IMG_4913

 

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