Cranes and Wine Tasting

Note: This blog was published last week when Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors was hiatus so only some followers were able to view; I am re-posting this on the TD link for wider distribution.

Two months ago, the plan was to visit the small town of Lodi, CA to photograph the migrating Sandhill Cranes visiting from the Arctic regions.  Expectation was to spend the whole day in Lodi.

We were on the road early, before the sunrise to get shots of the sunrise and Sandhill Cranes still in the water.  These birds were in existence over 2.5 million years ago; I took a photo of a Sandhill Crane statue in the emperor’s throne room in the Forbidden City (Beijing, China) in 2004 so that gives you an indication that they were in existence a long time ago.

Here are a few shots (morning and evening) of the cranes.


After the morning shoot, we headed out for brunch and to wait for the rest of the photographers to join our meetup.  I didn’t think we were going to find doors to photograph at this outdoor event but never say never (look closely and you’ll see some doors).

We were cruising the back country roads on the return to the marsh lands where the cranes called home for the winter months when we passed an interesting winery.  Our event organizer decided it was worth a stop since we had time to kill to see if we could get a tour and some wine tasting.  Turns out, the Lucas Winery in Lodi, is a great place to visit.  They are a boutique winery producing a limited number of barrels of organic and other wines and the friendly staff gave us a great tour and history of their winery.

The owner, David Lucas, converted an old barn into a wine tasting showroom and barrel aging room (which made for some nice photos).  He was an avid surfer (in the country no less) and had surfboards displayed in the showrooms (we were told that a surfboard designer shaped a wooden surfboard on site).  In this photo, the wooden barn doors hang open while modern storefront doors greet visitors at the entrance.


Visitors participating in the wine tasting are shown the bottles of wines as they enter the winery and are greeted by friendly staff like Jane, who gave us an excellent tour of the property and its history.

We were allowed to see the cool temperate room holding their barrels of wine.  The wooden surfboard designed and fabricated on site is displayed on some of the barrels.

The vineyard leaves were turning color telling us that most of the year’s harvest was done but there was still some fruit on the vines.  They had owl houses placed throughout the vineyard as a natural solution to control some burrowing pests from damaging the vine’s roots.

We completed the wine tour with visions of returning in the future while doing another birding event in Lodi.  There is something special in visiting a small winery where they add a more personal touch to their tours and I’d like to thank Jane Lopez for showing us around and having her General Manager, Sara J. Black, making sure that we were well taken care of.  The owner, David Lucas, might be seen incognito walking among the guests, just as you might envision a surfer to do.

Thanks for visiting my post and thanks to Norm 2.0 for his creation of the Thursday Doors website.  For more posts and photos of doors by others please go to: Thursday Doors.


17 thoughts on “Cranes and Wine Tasting

  1. It’s amazing to think that Sandhill cranes existed 2.5 million years ago! I wonder if they have changed much since then…
    Sounds like that winery was quite a lucky find! Good thing your group had time to stop by and enjoy their hospitality

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pistachios! Looks like I posted without realizing Norm’s TD is on break this week, too! I might have to link this post to the TD next week to get it out there.
      One interesting fact about the Sandhill Crane that was provided by the docents at our tour; the cranes cannot roost in trees like other birds because evolution was not kind to them and their opposing “toe” is very small and is almost useless hanging in the back of their foot so it cannot grip a tree branch to let them perch in the trees. So, they adapted and stand in 2 – 3 feet of water at night, far enough from the shore’s edge so predators cannot sneak up and pounce on them without getting into the water and making splashing warning noises.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When I saw your post, I really just wanted to read about birds, so it was a bonus you had some doors too! I’ve just started reading a book (fictional) about an amateur bird watcher, so it’s reawakened my interest in birds.
        Thanks for the fun fact! I suppose long legs aren’t a bad trade off for not having a long opposing toe 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well it looks like I missed a great birding/wine tasting tour that day! The images of the cranes, and winery are lovely. I especially like the evening Cranes flying images.

    I hope we see lots of cranes and have a great birding day next week! I’m looking forward to seeing you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Deborah! You were missed at that Lodi event but perhaps Dan will try for an evening shoot where we can visit the winery again and hang around to see if the owls come out seeking their dinner. The crane shots were taken with my old zoom; I’m hoping to get better shots with my new lens. Camera repairs were completed on Friday and I’m waiting for my delivery now. Will be in touch about the next shoot.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful photos. I don’t know if you’re old enough to have thought about the song “Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was on the first album i ever bought with my own money. Anyway, I had to go looking for a version of that to listen to while reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dan! And, thanks for carding me; I’m way older than you think. Creedence Clearwater was making their presence when I was in my early college years. I’m so old that I’m forgetting things like TD being on hiatus when I rushed to post this (actually, I’ve been catching up on other things and have not been active on TD these past few months).
      As I mentioned to Pistachios, I’m probably going to have to re-post this on TD next week to get it out there to non-followers; I also told the winery folks that I will show their winery because they were so nice to us during our visit.
      Hope you found your Creedence Clearwater song!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You were at the Forbidden City just 3 years before we did. have to admit, I don’t remember seeing the sandhill crane. But your captures of them flying are enviable! I can totally see your wine tasting outing. By the way, we opened the Barefoot Merlot right before New Year’s eve family gathering, also to add to my traditional fruitbowl dish, with a recipe from my late mother – it added a wonderful flavor, but also as a delicious glass of wine!
    A belated very happy New Year to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jesh! Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!
      When I saw the live Sandhill Crane it jogged my memory that I had that photo taken in Beijing (long term memory still in tack).
      We are heading to Sac to join a meetup to photograph birds on Saturday. Will test my new long lens.
      Hope to see you again this year!


  5. My husband and I were in Lodi just before Christmas to visit my mother-in-law. I wish I had known about those cranes then – I would have loved to have seen them. Your images are wonderful! I’m sure we’ll be there again so maybe I’ll get the chance next time. Btw, another good winery in the area is Oak Farm (in case you go back).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The migrating Sandhill Cranes are an annual event as long as there are cranes; thousands (maybe hundreds of years ago). They have a Lodi Sandhill Crane festival in early November but us photographers try to avoid the crowds when possible. They will migrate north soon if not already. Thanks for the winery tip.

      Liked by 1 person

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