When Cupcake was around 17 months old, we went on a little field trip to find the Sand Hill Cranes. After several trips to different locations, we were finally successful! It was my first time seeing them and it was a royal treat! As we drove to the top of a small hill, you could hear their “bird cry.” We all three quickly exited from the car and after a few short minutes of observing them, all the cranes took off in flight. Flapping their giant wings and calling to the others, “It’s time to fly now.” It was amazing!
Last year, around this time, we sought them out again and oh boy did we find them! There were hundreds of them. Some were already on the ground and others were circling in the air, then swooping in for a landing. Again, it was amazing and Cupcake was delighted.
This year the cranes migrated a bit early. I believe they felt the coming onslaught of our recent winter storms and decided to get the heck out of Dodge (or rather Wisconsin). So we decided to make this crane journey an annual pilgrimage with Cupcake. First we drove to the field where we found them at last year, but they weren’t there. Since we had some time, we drove out to the Hiwassee Refuge. We heard them, but couldn’t see them.
We saw several cranes flying and we could see in a distance where they had settled into a small gully. We stayed around for a few minutes, until the cold got the best of us. Cupcake tried her best to see the cranes with her binoculars. I’m not sure if she was successful, but she did see them flying over and heard them calling in the distance. It satisfied her.
The wind was bitterly cold (not as cold as Chicago is currently experiencing) but still, cold. Cupcake was enjoying herself immensely! She was running around the observation deck, dispensing advice about hunting the cranes and cawing like a crow. Yes, crow cawing, and she is quite good at it. The cold didn’t seem to bother her too much, that’s for sure!
Back in the car, we drove on a back road back to civilization. After several miles I saw an unusual looking animal to my left. And then as we crept along the side of the road we saw a group of other critters.
What a grand and glorious critter day! The cranes will be around for a bit longer, so hopefully we will have another opportunity to cruise into the Hiawassee Refuge by way of boat. That river journey should bring a viewing of a few eagles as well.
And for a parting shot……may I introduce Little Crow Girl!