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Sandhill Cranes at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge Area

  • 12/26/2021
  • 7:30 AM
  • Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge Area Observation Platform


  • Both members and visitors may register.

Registration is closed

SANP Field Event

Sandhill Cranes Hiwassee Refuge Area

Sunday, December 26, 2021


Leader:  Dale Potter               Phone:  (865) 773-8114             E-mail:

Meeting place: Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge Observation Deck  545 Priddy Road, Birchwood, Tn

Time: 7:30 am

Registration available:  Beginning today

For those that got new camera equipment for Christmas, this is your chances to try it out.  For those that Santa missed your house, come enjoy the morning with others that will help you plan how to file a complaint against the jolly old man.  


Location Description: 

The Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge Area has the largest winter gatherings of the sandhill cranes in the southeast.  In addition to sandhill cranes you may see some other birds of interest from eagles, herons, whooping cranes, ducks, pelicans, bluebirds, swans, or just the sandhill cranes. 

We will visit the observation platform at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge Area, the Blythe Ferry Boat Ramp area, and some of the surrounding roads.  If we are lucky we may be able to see some pelicans if they are back in the nearby area. We will start at the observation deck but may check out some fields later in the morning.  

This is short notice, but due to the weather issues some of the field events will be posted with short notice. Check out the calendar to see if other events are posted with limited notice between now and the end of February.  


Learning opportunities:

On this outing we will have the opportunity to practice with birds in flight from a few to several at a time.  We will have the opportunity to see the sandhill cranes while they are feeding.  Up close and at a distance.  A long zoom lens is best for sandhill cranes in flight.  

What to bring:

  • Your favorite DSLR camera and lens. Extra batteries.
  • Bring cold weather gear, hand warmers depending on the weather.
  • Tripod can be useful unless you are shooting fast shutter speeds.
  • Rain gear for yourself and a rain cover for your camera in case we have rain.

Remember to dress for the weather and in layers.  Waterproof foot gear might be useful.  Keep your spare camera battery in a warm pocket so you can swap it out for the cold one in the camera as needed.


Driving directions:  We will meet at Observation Deck at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.  545 Priddy Road, Birchwood, Tn.   

Restrooms:  None at the Observation Deck but plenty of field options.

How to Find Me: Red Jeep Wrangler

Contacts:     Jerry Whaley, President       Julie Glibbery, Membership Manager       General Information

Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
Mailing address: 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Ste 107A-231, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
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