Appleton is in the Brighton Rec Area and one of my favorite spots for watching the sandhill crane. It was early in the day, though, and the flock of cranes that overnights at the lake was still out in the surrounding fields and yards feeding. I saw only one lone crane prowling the shoreline in a little cove. I did not see one but I assume there was a mate on a nest nearby.
Blue flag iris
The area is great for watching birds of all kinds, and I saw quite a number without really trying, including belted kingfisher, common yellowthroat, yellow warblers, kingbirds, a female oriole and red-wing blackbirds. There was a pair of great egrets perched in a tree but I did not see a nest anywhere. I was also treated to a fly-0ver by an osprey, not a common bird in this part of Michigan.
There is a very shallow, narrow creek connecting Appleton Lake to Little Appleton Lake, and we pushed and wriggled our way upstream to look for cranes there. We were treated to a nesting pair and what appeared to be a fairly newly hatched colt. The female was still sitting on the nest so we think there will be a second colt soon. But we were worried about rain so we didn't stay long, but will go back in a day or two to see if the family has grown.
Fuzzy shot of fuzzy colt on nest next to mom
Colt can be seen between the two adults, standing on the nest.
Female is rolling her other egg.