The early birds

Heading into the fall months this has been a year like no other. Personal loss, the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems the whole world is changing before me. For one sense of calm and continuity I head to the quiet of the Isenberg Crane Reserve for the return of the sandhill cranes on their yearly migration. Saturday’s visit captured some of the early arrivals to the wetlands.

The long summer days are slowly fading and against the hues of a hazy sunset the cranes arrived for my trip to the reserve of the season. I wasn’t even sure the status of flooding the wetland during the pandemic, and work had begun with about half the fields with water. Cranes trumpeted as they circled the wetland landing in nearby fields before heading back for the night.

As the sun slipped through a patchwork of clouds and the sky glowed a purple hue the cranes filed in, landing at the furthest edge of the field. A couple thousand I estimated had arrived, with more to come in the next few weeks at the flooding continues and the cranes establish their nightly roosting spot. With all the changes and turmoil I will look forward to heading to the wetland for a moment of clam and serenity with the cranes heading into the winter months and the end of this tumultuous year.