Tuesday, April 26, 2016 MORE Geese and Cranes!

Seward, Alaska

I mistakenly thought the big push was over, but as the dark gray clouds rolled in on Monday, they were loaded with rain, a chilly wind, and birds. As evening approached, the sky was filled with rows and lines of black dots that looked more like swarms of bees than birds. As they grew closer, their glad cries rang out and hundreds of SANDHILL CRANES and GEESE landed, grounded by the weather.

These are the first landed Cranes I’ve had the pleasure of watching this spring. They absolutely dwarfed every other bird around, yet were very tolerant of the various ducks and geese feeding amongst them. Every stately bird was hungry, voraciously finding calories in the soggy but apparently rewarding wetlands. Now and then, a magnificent pair stretched skyward and bugled with excitement, wings outstretched. Spring! Homeward bound!

Tasha counted, a difficult task with this ever-changing feathered landscape, and posted on eBird: 246 SANDHILL CRANES, 77 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, 327 CACKLING GEESE, and 12 ALEUTIAN CACKLING GEESE.

This morning, as the weather improved, more flocks of Geese and Cranes stroked up the bay and flew over town, funneled by the mountains. One would think all heads would snap skyward at the sound, but most folks seemed oblivious to this wonder of nature right overhead. What a stupendous feat, migration, and what an upwelling of hope, joy, and satisfaction to witness it!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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