Thursday, May 14, 2020
ON THEIR WAY
The spring migration of birds is in full swing. My local Audubon bird alert has been hopping with news of what birds are passing through on their way to their summer homes. Lots of shorebirds and warblers have been spotted by these bird-watching faithfuls. I decided to head to the countryside to see what I might find also.
As I drove along, I spotted a Yellowlegs perched at the edge of a low lying field that had been flooded from recent rains. These sandpipers are named for their distinctive long, spindly yellow legs.
The bird waded into the water, and I wondered whether it was a Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs. I couldn’t tell, however, with no other birds to compare it with. Yellowlegs typically breed in the summer all the way across Canada from Alaska to Newfoundland. Still has a long way to go.
I was hoping to see the Yellowlegs pull some insects out of the air with that long bill. Or some crustaceans from the water. But it just stood there. Maybe I was too close, making the Yellowlegs wary. I was suddenly distracted, however, by another, familiar bird sound.
I could hear the loud, trumpeting call of Sandhill Cranes! I know they can be heard from a long distance, but this sounded nearby. Indeed, I turned my car around and spotted the cranes on a far hillside surrounded by several cornfields.
Most of the cranes stayed with the group, but a few had wandered off. I caught this one alone in a field, backlit by the waning sunlight.
Another was already feasting in a cornfield. I was a bit far for close-up shots, so I decided to head home.
As I flipped the car around, I saw the Yellowlegs again, this time with a nice reflection. I always feel grateful to see birds and wildlife on my travels to the countryside, this time birds partaking in the spring migration. Safe travels, birdies!