Braving chilly December temperatures I made one last trip to Isenberg this season to watch the morning departure. There is always a chance of not seeing any cranes or other waterfowl and you think your trip was wasted . Even without birds of any kind the site is host to some of the most dramatic sunrises and susets across the wetlands that I can rembember and that alone is worth the trip. But I would not be disappointed with he dawn launch.
Arriving shortly before sunrise I could see the grays wisps of fog creep across the wetlands illuminated by the first rays of sunlight as the last stars faded from the sky. In the distance the squawks and cackles of geese, ducks and cranes echoed in the air.
With the dawn come the first waves of launches in the distance, scattering a line across the horizon as they wheeled up and into the crisp air. Flocks joined into formation above me as they headed for their morning feedings.
With the sun inching above the wetlands comes the mass exodus, thousands of birds at a time launching into the air at once. The formation almost seems surreal, a mass of dots against the morning magenta hues in the sky as they slowly gain momentum in their climb.
And then Isenberg falls silent, a wake slowly spreading across the glass-smooth surface as another waterfowl stirs.
I will miss my tomes wathcing the colors and and shapes across the sky for another year and October will not come soon enough as I wait to greet the first arrivals to Isenberg.