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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Crane(less) Creek

Rumor (well, okay, the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge website) had it that sandhill cranes are paying a visit to our area, and since I've never seen cranes, and I am researching nature writing, and the refuge is less than 25 miles from our apartment in Toledo, off I went. Surely a body of water called Crane Creek would be a good place to look for these ancient birds.

Earlier in the week, cranes had been sighted at the pond near the refuge entrance, but there were none today. I did, however, see two life birds in the silky dogwoods lining the trail: numerous yellow-rumped warblers and what I think was a Blackburnian in fall plumage. Today was overcast, so the colors were difficult to determine, but the bright yellow rumps were unmistakeable. Also enjoying the dogwoods' white berries were a few white-crowned sparrows.

Hoping to find cranes, I headed off on the driving tour, along which route there had been sightings. No luck. There were, however, swans, and not your ordinary introduced mute swans, but a flock of native, black-billed tundra swans (alas, too far away for a good picture from my camera). Not too far from the swans was what may have been a cormorant.
Great blue herons were everywhere, often seeming to pose for pictures,
while the birds described by Sarah Orne Jewett as white herons, though plentiful, were not as cooperative with the photographer.

After a several-hour schlep through two parks, there were still no sandhill cranes, though at least the Crane Creek Estuary Trail did lead me to Lake Erie, which I had nearly to myself on a breezy, overcast afternoon.

As the time drew near to head home to start dinner for my long-suffering spouse, a great egret at last condescended to pose.
So although the creek today was craneless, seeking the elusive crane wasn't a bad way to spend an afternoon.


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