On October 24th, Narda and I decided to stop at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge to see if we might get lucky and spot a Whooping Crane or two before we headed up to the Linwood Research Station in Stevens Point for a Northern Saw-whet Owl banding event.
When we arrived, we first went on a walk near the visitors center where we saw two Whooping cranes and a couple hundred Sandhill cranes.The symphony created by all of these cranes was beautiful to be in the presence of.
We then went up to the observation deck where we were able to locate nine Whooping Cranes including a family of three; tow adults and their yearling colt! That is roughly 1/60th of the worlds population! Incredible.
Since I was still in need of a Red-headed Woodpecker for my 2015 list we walked the trail that runs east of the tower. We did locate three juvenile woodpeckers on our way out to the point that looks out over the marsh.
As we watched the Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese (including what appeared to be a Greater White- fronted Goose/Canada Goose hybrid) in the waning light of the day, we saw the family of Whooping cranes flying across the water towards us.
We watched in awe as they flew right up to us before turning and flying back out over the water bugling the whole way. This was a simply magical moment that had both of us speechless. The frosting on the cake came when I realized that the moon was in some of the pictures. How can one not feel some sense of spirituality or be filled with a profound sense of appreciation for all of the beauty and wonderment the natural world provides?