Thursday, March 29, 2018


The temperature reached 50 degrees earlier this week.   Finally!!  I decided to take a drive in the countryside to see what was happening.

Farmland ponds were beginning to thaw and this one was full of gulls in constant motion.  Their squawking filled the evening air.

This Ring-billed Gull appeared to be leading the chorus.  While this gull often lives year-round in the Great Lakes region, its location in the pond made me wonder if it’d been migrating from a warmer climate.  You know, one of those snow bird types who are returning home from a warm winter away.

On the next corner was another pond with mallards busy eating vegetation off the bottom.  I also saw a Red-winged Blackbird perched on the top of a spent cattail.  It was singing its distinctive trill.  I’d never watched this breed execute its vocalization, but each time it did, it puffed out its body and expanded its wings.  How much energy it expended!

  Off in the distance, I could see a huge flock of something in the sky.  My heart quickened, but as the mass came closer, I could see it was (just) geese.

Truth be told, I’d been looking for another critter, and I found it in one of the most unlikely places.  As I passed by Hency Marsh, I saw it.  A Sandhill Crane standing in the snow.  It wasn’t moving at all and it made me wonder if it was stuck or frozen in space.  Or maybe, it wasn’t moving because I was there so I drove off to give it a chance to do it’s own thing.

As I rounded the corner, I came upon two more cranes, this time in a setting more natural to them.  What graceful birds they are as they moved nearly in tandem through the field.  The cranes were not happy with my presence, however, and quickly turned their backs to me and continued the walk in a different direction, bugling their discontent the whole time.

With sunset approaching, I wanted to return to the marsh to check on the crane I’d imagined was stuck in the snow.  When I returned, the crane was gone so I felt relieved.  I was just about to leave when my eye caught movement in the red vegetation.   Camouflage artist!  With its red eye and crest, the crane blended in perfectly.


  1. Yes, spring awakening! Great theme, Karen! It is so good to see Sandhill Cranes, again. And I love the shot of the gull leading the chorus! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Jan. I agree about it being good to see the cranes again. They are one of my favorite critters to see and photograph.

  3. The anticipation of spring is in the air, but the tempatures are still below normal. It makes you wonder why these types of migrating birds come back so early. Sandhill cranes normally start to return in lower Michigan in mid to late February. Redwing Black birds also came back early in our region. You did a good job of capturing the black bird. The solid black with red on the wings make them especially tricky to photograph. I'm still waiting for the two-tone orange Harley Davidson to start showing up. :) Thanks for sharing. Mark

  4. It's crazy weather this spring. Cold! Snow predicted for this weekend. It was hard getting the eyes to stand out on the Red-wing blackbird. I haven't had a two-tone orange HD show up here yet either. Should be soon. sis