The harvest moon has risen, there is a cool breeze in the evening and the sandhill cranes have returned to Isenberg. Everything is right with the world.
My second trek to Isenberg of the season coincided with the first docent led tour of the season. I don’t take the tours, I am content to watch the cranes fly in from the dirt parking lot or cement viewing platform at Isenberg but I did listen in to the welcome speech and learned a little bit more about the cranes. They weigh between 7 and 10 pounds, the bright red patch on their head is their scalp — not feathers and they are one of the oldest birds around dating back to the dinosaurs. I always thought they looked a little primeval in flight.
The weather couldn’t have been better and there were just a few mosquitoes as the sandhill cranes arrived in waves in the fading light. The trumpeting of the cranes as they called out to their families filled the evening air.
At the peak about 5,000 cranes will call this stretch of wetlands home for the next few months, leaving for warmer pastures in February.
One last trivia, a group of sandhill cranes is called a herd, not a flock. Go figure.