Saturday morning means breakfast with our friends. As usual we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, where Renita ordered an omelet and I had a Huevos con Marchacado, (eggs with dried meat) Mexicana, (tomatoes and jalapenos).
Usually we go shopping, but today we headed over to Lamar for a morning of birding. Our friends Roy and Mary Lou told us that they had seen three whooping cranes next to the blue house and we knew just where they meant!
As we drove by the Blue House, we were surprised to see seven Whooping Cranes, Three were a family group with a colt, a brown mottled juvenile whooper, Three appeared to be second year cranes, and another a dominant male which chased and harassed the family.
He finally harassed them so much that they flew away.
They really didn’t go very far as they had been waiting for a deer feeder to dispense its corn. Leaving the scene we headed further, to eight street where we spotted another five of the largest cranes. Three were a family group, with another mottled colt, and two were a pair without any young ones.
As we watched, we noticed two sandhill cranes in the foreground and a great egret near a distant pond. Two gadwalls fed while a plague of boat tailed grackles cavorted in a grassy area.
Red winged blackbirds were also in abundance and a flock of rock doves landed in a distant tree.
We saw a Swainson’s hawk land on a telephone pole and after taking its picture we next spotted a vermillion flycatcher sitting on its tree top perch.
Every so often it would launch itself in the air, catch a bug and then back to the perch.
After driving to Big Tree, we saw another feasting flycatcher, this one was an eastern phoebe.
From there we drove to the beach where a willet and a lesser yellowlegs fed for underwater crustaceans.
Gulls were everywhere and one, a Franklins gull refused to move from its spot. So, we got a great image!
Driving up fourth street we saw that one of the family groups of whooping cranes had flown to a feeder that must have just gone off. The birds know when the feeder are timed to go off. Once you learn this you can be almost guaranteed to spot the magnificent birds.
Heading back home we drove along the Fulton beach road.
On one of the docks a tricolored heron walked away afraid we would try to get its breakfast. However, neither of us care for fresh rat and so we let it go on its way. If you look closely, you can see that it is preparing to swallow it head first…
It was a great morning of whooping cranes, other birds and another appreciation of how important the birds are as they keep down the rodent population. Clear skies, and may your day be rat free!