Monday, November 19, 2012

De Cranes! De Cranes!

 Phyllis Haehnle cont:

Whew! Sorry about the delay in finishing the crane posts. We had our open house this past weekend and it is an amazing amount of work to get ready for. There was more work than usual for this one as we redid some of our road signs and I redesigned our note cards. Add in all the usual stuff, like cleaning the house and yard, hanging and tagging the show, creating advertising, blah blah, and I spent the better part of the past 10 days doing little but open house stuff. In addition I had a commission to finish to deliver today up in Traverse City, so I've been busting my tail. The work was well worth it but I am glad it's over!

So back to Phyllis Haehnle....

I settled down on a bench after chasing the kinglet around the apple trees, and waited for the cranes to arrive. I didn't have to wait long. Around 5:45 I heard some calling beyond the trees to the southwest. A group of about 50 cranes flew in right overhead, and deposited themselves in the marsh.

A few minutes later another group of about 50 birds joined them.

There was a lull, and then I could hear them, farther off than the first two groups, coming in from the northwest into the northern section of the marsh. Even at this distance, I could tell there were a lot.

"A lot" is an understatement.

They came streaming in, dozens, hundreds, of cranes, to the northern end of the marsh. Flying with them were huge flocks of blackbirds.

It seemed to go on forever. Finally a short break, and the cacophony coming from the marsh was incredible as the cranes jostled for a spot to spend the night.

Then it started again, hundreds of cranes and blackbirds pouring in, flying over the prairie where earlier I'd seen the buckeye butterfly.

I was dumbfounded. I must have witnessed nearly 2000 cranes flying in to roost. It was one of the most spectacular things I've ever seen. I can't imagine what it's like in Nebraska at the Platte River, or what the snow goose migration is like, where there are tens of thousands of birds.

I imagine by now the bulk of the cranes have gone south. I know there are some still hanging around--I heard a pair just yesterday morning, flying past the house. This is definitely going on the calendar for next year, as this was something I want to experience again!