PHOTO: Red-crowned cranes take to the air in the morning mist

December 28, 2012

By KURATOSHI YOKOYAMA/ Staff Writer

Red-crowned cranes, an endangered species designated a special national treasure, flew gracefully in the mist rising from a river in eastern Hokkaido on a bitterly cold morning, offering photographers and bird-watchers a spectacular backdrop.

On the morning of Dec. 27, the mist, called “kearashi,” developed over the Setsurigawa river in Tsurui village in northern Japan when water vapor above the surface was cooled.

The area is suffering through a severe cold spell these days. The lowest temperature on the morning logged 22.5 degrees below freezing, around 10 degrees lower than the average for this time of the year, and this winter’s coldest.

The frigid temperatures didn't keep the large cranes grounded on the winter morning. The long-necked birds took to the air from their nests near the river to destinations in surrounding areas, including feeding grounds.

By KURATOSHI YOKOYAMA/ Staff Writer
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Red-crowned cranes fly in the mist called “kearashi” over a river in Tsurui, Hokkaido, on Dec. 27. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

Red-crowned cranes fly in the mist called “kearashi” over a river in Tsurui, Hokkaido, on Dec. 27. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

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  • Red-crowned cranes fly in the mist called “kearashi” over a river in Tsurui, Hokkaido, on Dec. 27. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

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