The San Jose Mercury reports that this is Sandhill Crane season (February) out in central California. It suggests three locations to see them: Cosumnes River Preserve (south of Sacramento off I-5), Staten Island Road, and Isenberg Crane Reserve. I went to Cosumnes this last weekend. Lots of cranes if you have really good binoculars--they are there but staying a good long way away from people and cars. For example, I could see them off Desmond Road (north of the preserve proper) during the afternoon. Around sunset and just after, they swooped in by groups small and large to the ponds directly across from the visitor's center, making their amazing rattling calls as they came in. Mostly silhouettes, but gorgeous against the sunset. I didn't have much time to spend there; a couple of people walking the paths behind the visitor's center said they saw some closer during the day.
And, if you were lucky, they flew in right overhead. If you were luckier (not me), you'd have your camera on the right settings to catch them as they whipped past.