Narrative courtesy of Sue Duncan. Photograph courtesy of Larry VanWagoner. Enjoy!
October 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm fourteen intrepid AVA Members left Nester Corner’s gas station in search of Sandhill Cranes. The large, long legged birds had been found many times before in an area with a farm field and adjacent ponds, but would any appear tonight?
The early scouting done just an hour preceding by Larry and Sue had been totally unsuccessful. Not one bird was found feeding or flying anywhere in the vicinity. The behavior of these migrants is still puzzling to the watchers.
The birders arrived on site and began spotting wildlife; whitetail deer, multiple large flocks of ducks and Canada Geese, even a Bald Eagle, but no Cranes. It was cold and overcast, typically late October weather. Sunset was around 6:45, would the team be able to hold out that long?
A lone crane crossed the sky! Yippee! Was it a young one that couldn’t keep up? No peeps were heard. Was it a scout for the evening flock? Why wasn’t there a couple hundred approaching? AVA 14 – Cranes 1. Finally more Cranes started to blink into view! Counting could be heard from a number of the birders. This was becoming more fun. Then just before dusk, cold and hunger got the best of the crew. With a count of 65 cranes (or so) the AVA folks gratefully got into warm cars and headed off for dinner, leaving the Cranes with their feet in the water or feeding in the field awaiting their chance to float over to find a spot to roost with the other feathery migrants.