“Life in Florida”- By Sam Samarasinghe



Living in Florida after my retirement 5 years ago I have enjoyed observing the nature around this beautiful state. That is one of the reasons I took up photography as a serious hobby. Use of computer techniques for my photography also led me to create this RU blog for the benefit of all my Batchmates.

Enough about me, This post is about Sandhill Cranes. Sandhill cranes are large (2-4 ft) grey colored birds with huge wingspans. They have a characteristic red foreheads with long dark pointed beaks. For the most part they are migratory birds who arrive in Florida in huge flocks from Canada and upper midwest. They head back in late February/ March. They frequently have aloud trumpeting  call that can be heard from a long distance particularly during mating period.

There is a small resident population of Sandhill Cranes in Sarasota (where I live)  and few cities in western Florida, where we get to watch these birds year round.

My story is about a couple that I spotted near my house during the mating season. The female laid two eggs close to a small pond. I took a series of photos prior to hatching and continued to watch them for around  3weeks. Unfortunately I missed the actual hatching. The pictures below explain the events as they unfolded. Click on images to open the gallery. It was a beautiful event to watch.Enjoy!









18 thoughts on ““Life in Florida”- By Sam Samarasinghe”

  1. Oh My God Sam– what a lovely set of events unfolded in your back yard !

    I was almost in tears as I saw mom and dad with the two babies, out for a stroll in the sun . !

    This is really, really beautiful – Nature’s Bounty- I must say, and you are gifted to be the one to see this magic unfold before your eyes !
    This is a REAL treat for you, and many, many thanks for sharing your gift with us .

    Now, the Canada Connection — they come to Canada in April and we see them in my area ( about an hour drive from home for me ) where they rest, feed and move on further north to spend the summer .
    I live close to a bird migratory route . ( Minesing Swamp- Ontario ) .

    I am not sure, if they nest in Northern Canada to have their young .

    Then, in the autumn, they return to Southern Canada – in large noisy groups – in the hundreds – in late October — > November , to rest and feed on the corn seeds left in the farm fields after harvesting .

    Each gp stays for a while to feed and rest and leave, and then the next gp comes along and so it goes on for about 4 wks .
    This is when we all go to see them .
    I never get tired of watching these birds year after year , specially in the autumn .

    After a good rest and well fed, they come to Florida for the winter- REAL Snow Birds they are !

    Apparently- in warmer British Columbia- there is a resident flock – that have got used to being hand fed by visitors in the Bird Sanctuary, near Vancouver area .

    I have already sent you and Praxy, a few pics I took – if you still have them, you can put them on the web page .
    If not, I will send you a few .
    They are very shy birds- so, I took them from quite a distance away , with my little pocket digital camera .
    Of course, my pics are not as good as yours, but, still it shows what they are doing in southern Canada ..
    It is absolutely fascinating to watch them in the hundreds feeding,, playing around, flying around, just goofing off, fighting with each other over territory and mates etc .

    Thank you again- for the lovely photo story on the Sandhill Cranes .
    I just LOVE it !
    Deepthie .


    1. Dear Deepthie,I am sure these Sandhill Cranes are following you. Those photos of the birds are fantastic and I am being educated by the blog as I never knew they existed even…( my poor knowledge )Sam said they come from Canada and go back in late February / March. That is exactly what you are doing. Did you buy all of them return air tickets to accompany you?? If so what flight did they all take? Was it economy business or First class?Love. Praxy


  2. Thank you my mats, Sam, Deepthie, Nisantha and Dharma
    For glimpses of the world you got, results of ‘good Kamma’
    Sharing Vivid pictures doing a great service, to folks like us
    Special tribute also to the ‘ web master’ on behalf of the batch


    1. Thank you my mates, Sam, Deepthie, Nisantha & Dharma
      For glimpses of the world you got, results of ‘good mamma’
      Sharing vivid pictures Doing a great service to folks like us
      A special tribute also to ‘web master’ on behalf of the batch.


    2. Dear Ariya
      Fancy calling Sam Deepthie Nisantha and Dharma ‘mats’😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊Just joking Ariya. I make worse typos than that.


      1. Dear Praxy,
        Age is catching up, not by inches but by furlongs and miles
        Virtually have no control over horrendous typing bloomers
        Feel foolish, yet nothing can do and become the butt of jokes
        Best is to have a laugh, thank God, for understanding mates!


      2. Hi Ariya I was just joking about your typos. I have mad worse ones than that where they sound really funny. Once I wrote to some one and instead of Dear…. it had come out as Dear Moron…and it was after sending it that I realised the mistake. So don’t worry these are beyond our control I have fun reading them.
        We will be leaving sunny Malaysia tomorrow for UK. Take care. Kind Regards. Praxy


  3. Hi Sam what wonderful photos you have put on the blog. They are sooooo pretty. They have educated me as well as I did not know much about these birds. Cheers. Praxy


  4. Thanks Sam for sharing the lovely pictures of the Sandhill Cranes,
    We get the Canada Geese here on the Island we live in Pittsburgh. They are a menace. They dirty the place with their droppings and they are not pretty to look at.
    Plan to send the Canada Geese back to Deepthie and some your way.
    Nisantha Banda


  5. HI Praxy,
    ‘ ‘My ‘Sandhill Cranes- fly First Class !
    No issues at the border about what religion, where you are born, what are your connections are else where in the world etc –

    in my next life- I want to be born a Sandhill Crane !
    I just LOVE this bird and Sam really ‘hit the spot’ when he posted the pics – it really tugged at my heart and soul .

    When it comes to Eagles and Sandhill cranes- I wear my heart on my sleeve !!!!

    eagledeepthie .


    1. Dear Deepthie,
      I think they are lucky to fly First Class with no questions asked about their details and especially no laptops to carry in hand luggage ( Hope they know that laptops are to be put in checked luggage). I don’t envy you being born as a Sandhill Crane in your next birth, but please do not expect Sam to take photos of you watching over your eggs and your little sons and daughters as they hatch. Praxy


  6. Hey Nisantha !
    The Sandhill Cranes- I just adore them , and I am fortunate to live along the ‘migration fly way ‘ to see them,

    Sam’s photos are nothing but stunning .
    Thanks again Sam- for sharing this with the Class of 64 .

    Canada Geese- we dont want them either – I dont know why they are called Canada Geese !
    One thing I must say- they taste great when cooked over a hot coals and fire, strung up on a wooden beam across the fire pit .
    I have done this with the Native People in Canada, in Northern Ontario-
    These people are great Canada Geese hunters – and have perfected it to an art !

    At one time, I think, these birds were fed with pellets containing a small amount of birth control pill substance .

    I agree- they are a real bother to us too – we who live along the water, do all kinds of tricks to keep them away from our shore line- like stringing up colored flags etc .
    I dont think Sam wants them either . !
    So, Nisantha- you are stuck with them – for now at least .

    I am leaving AZ in 11 days- and the Canada Geese will be waiting for me !!

    Summer – where I live is Heaven on Earth- Canada Geese or no !
    Enjoy the Spring- that is going to Spring sooooon !

    Hope to see you both up in Canada- now that the US $$ will get you 30% more value, north of the border !

    Deepthie .


  7. Enjoy reading your responses! Feeding Canadian Geese with birth control pills? Great idea but I think it’s not working. Fortunately we don’t see many down here in Florida. Hope you enjoyed Arizona.


  8. HI Sam,
    I am still here -my last 10 days and I am sorry to leave, but, has to go home attend to things there.
    Also, it is getting very hot here in Cottonwood –

    Even today- I was out by the river- in the afternoon, sat on a rock for about 20 mins, having a little snack to eat, with my feet in the water and it felt soooo good and refreshing .

    Canada Geese – this must be the most ‘disliked bird ‘ in Canada- poor thing – no one likes them, except sport hunters- that shoot for fun, and those that like to have a few good meals in the freezer – including my self !
    The feathers are used for making Native American Regalia- of various kinds, that are worn/ used at Ceremonies and Pow Wow’s all over Canada and USA.
    So, this poor bird, has its uses- so I am going to be a little more charitable towards it in my thinking !

    if you have ‘data space ‘ put in a few pics of my Sandhill Crane photos , if you still have them .
    if not, let me know, I will send you a fresh set- and you can pick the ones you want for the web page – just to show, how they gather in their hundreds down my way , in Southern Ontario .
    Thanks- Deepthie- aka Sandhill Lover !


    1. Hi Deepthie,
      We are leaving here ( Malaysia ) for UK tomorrow. When you get back to Penetang give me a call. Praxy


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