Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wet, windy, cold counting

Who showed better sense, the crane counters or the cranes?

It was 30 degrees F, windy and drizzly Saturday for the International Crane Foundation's annual Midwest Sandhill Crane Count. We were in place at 5:30 a.m. The cranes slept in.

Drizzle turned to rain. We all heard cranes, but they stayed sheltered in the wetlands. Outagamie County count coordinator Jess Miller said most counters saw three or four cranes during their two-hour watch. Not many took to the skies.

In my counting spot near the sand hill we call home, nothing much happened until close to 7 a.m. Instead of flying in as they have done in other years, the cranes just walked into the farm field from the woods, and they didn't stray far from the cover.

In all, I saw 21 cranes through a rain-blurred spotting scope. That's a better count than in recent years, well worth the damp clothes and frosty fingers.  -- DH


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