“Spring” in Montana is a weeks long exercise in frustration. Gray skies, wind-blown dust, snow storms, driving sleet…it drives me nuts.
But when I hear the snow geese honking overhead as they make their way north, or see “my” eagles fixing up their nests I get a glimmer of hope that change is really on the way. One by one, the birds return: first, of course, are the huge flocks of snow geese and tundra swans. Then one day a mountain bluebird streaks from a fencepost, followed by a western meadowlark singing from another post. Redwinged blackbirds are suddenly everywhere, and the ducks! Northern shovelers, buffleheads, and hooded mergansers suddenly appear in ponds and rivers where just last week there were only lonely mallards. The gorgeous pelicans come back, and the grebes are changing into their silly breeding hairdos. The osprey usually take longer to show up, but I did see an industrious fellow last week, busily repairing his nest.
When I hear the rattling call of the sandhill cranes, and see them gliding into their favorite stubble fields…that’s when I know that winter is truly over. They’re here. It’s spring.
Beautiful photos of Sandhills cranes. Thanks!
Thanks for checking them out, too.
What about when the snowbirds return from Arizona?
I’ve been listening for their rattling call…
I loved your description of spring and the cranes in parallel flight.
What a great description of spring. I think I like the Sandhills more each year.
You and me both!
I LOVE the sandhill cranes. There is something so majestic about them. We have your pelicans here in the summer, and their numbers are growing. And the red winged blackbirds are here pretty much all year. This winter we even had a swan show up at the lake! How do we know it’s spring in Texas? Thunderstorms and tornadoes!
I’d be OK with the thunderstorms (most of the time, anyway) but tornadoes scare the bejeebus out of me. Hope they stay away from you this spring!
I had no idea they had that red mask; thanks for sharing!
That red part kind of blows the camouflage thing, doesn’t it?
I love spring in Montana. Can’t wait to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in Big Sky country! Great post.
I enjoy your blog. I look for birds now.
Oh, I love that! Thanks.
Now I’m jealous. I should be seeing Sandhill Cranes here in MN too. Those are some great shots you got.
I think the Sandhills are my favorites. I so enjoy your blog, by the way – I’ve learned a lot from you!