The first weekend in October usually means the sandhill cranes have taken up their temporary residency at the Isenberg wetlands. The early vanguards of my first visit have replaced with thousands of cranes that will call the wetlands their home for the next three months

Driving to Isenberg Saturday afternoon hundreds of cranes foraged in the fields on either side of the road next to the wetland waiting for the sunset before heading for a landing to roost next door.

The sunset cued some of the early evening arrivals. Most cranes wait for the that period after the sun’s disk has full slipped below the horizon and the last light of dusk colors the sky. As dusk ended bands of cranes emerged out of the darkness to circle and land.

I don’t remember this many cranes this early last year at Isenberg. The smoke-filled skies may have kept some of the cranes away last year but last night’s arrival looks like it will be a good year to watch the cranes and other waterfowl and enjoy the sights at Isenberg.