Night and day

Sunset arrival, Saturday September 28 

Sunrise departure, Sunday September 29

As the long summer days ebb into the cool breezes and crisp nights of autumn it is time for the sandhill cranes to return to the Isenberg wetlands during their yearly migration. I took a trip last week as the wetlands were beginning to be flooded and was greeted by the first cranes of the season. This weekend I planned a pair of back-to-back trips to watch their sunset arrival and sunrise departure.



High winds greeted the cranes as they arrived to roost after a day of foraging in nearby fields. A fast downwind leg on their landing approach was followed by entering a near hover as they settled in for the hues shown across the water and clouds that crept in at sundown. As the last light dwindled and the cranes melded into the darkness the sound of the cranes trumpeting echoed across the field.



Arriving just before first light spilled across the wetlands the trumpet of cranes as they awoke joined the chorus of ducks and geese and other waterfowl. As the sky brightened a line of sandhill cranes near the back of the field waited for the morning flights. A light mist slid across the water shrouding cranes as they wandered across the water. As the trumpets grew louder groups of cranes lifted off into the sunrise circling to land in mowed fields across the street.

The magenta and indigo hues of sunset contrasted with the yellow and orange warmth of the sunrise. The cranes have returned and brought a palette of color to decorate the sky for their flights. the crane season has just begun with many moire days of flights and adventure to behold.