I’ve been known to take a little afternoon snooze, especially since my knee replacement surgery. That was the case Sunday afternoon after losing an hour of sleep in the switch to Daylight Savings Time. Ugh! But when I woke up around 4 pm, I had an epiphany. It wouldn’t get dark until 8 pm so I had plenty of time left for picture-taking!
I quickly packed the camera bags, Gracie excitedly ran to the car, and we headed to the boonies. The roads were still fairly snow-covered and drifted in spots, but there were also some slushy bare areas due to the temps being a bit warmer.
There wasn’t a lot of snow in the fields either. Like in-town, I could see the ice underneath the thin snow layer, perfect conditions for this snowmobiler doing donuts.
And beyond the snowmobiler in a stand of old maples, I spied a true harbinger of spring, maple syrup buckets!
It was a beautiful farm country afternoon. The Golden Hour approaching. Corn stalks popping through the sparse snowfall on the rolling hillsides. I never tire of scenes like this one. Still, I was hoping to see some critters.
Gracie spotted the first wild thing, as she hung out the car window. Probably through smell. As I snapped away, the possum moved along as fast as it could in the soft afternoon light.
And up the road, I saw two swans sitting peacefully in a cornfield. Not the first time, but weird, huh? Okay, truth be told, I wasn’t out looking for possums or swans. I was hoping to see whether any Sandhill Cranes had returned from their winter migration. I know I was pushing it because the earliest I’d seen them was March 23, still ten days away.
I crossed M-113 into a new block and my heart lept! Two Sandhill Cranes were feeding on the dregs in a corn field. Of course, I didn’t know if they were “my” pair, but it was the earliest I’d ever seen cranes.
The birds were filling their traditional roles. One bird stood in ready position watching for any signs of threatening predators. Luckily, a long photography lens and dog hanging out a car window didn’t constitute danger.
The other crane went about greedily chomping on the corn dregs. I imagine the birds were hungry after their migratory travel. Must feel good to be home again.
But for me, the season of crane-watching had begun. Pair-bond dancing, mating, nesting, young birds were all ahead. Oh happy day!