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Sandhill Cranes at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge Area

  • 12/17/2022
  • 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


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

The Sandhill Cranes are back. They are still arriving, but several have posted some great pics from the number already there. There have been sightings of pelicans in the area. This should be a great time to enjoy the area without the crowds once more birds arrive.  


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 maybe some of the surrounding roads.  We will start at the observation deck but may check out some fields later in the morning.  

Expect it to be chilly in the morning. Come prepared for the weather.


Learning opportunities:

On this outing you will have the opportunity to practice with birds in flight from a few to several at a time.  You 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.  Restrooms are available at the Cheorkee Removal Memorial.  

How to Find Me: Red Jeep Wrangler

Dale Potter

Field Events

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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