|Cranes fly over their Hula Valley staging area at sunset in Israel's Upper Galilee before departing for Africa.|
MIGRATION: The greatest spectacle of nature is underway. Wildlife species of all sizes, shapes and means of locomotion are on the move. For some- lady bugs - their migration was a matter of yards. They crawled from outside your house to hidden recesses inside your house. (You'll find them next spring on the window sills trying to get back out.) Monarchs flapped out of Oakland County before the big chill stormed into town. Destination:Mexico. Delicate ruby-throated hummingbirds are already living the good life in Cuba. Migration is more than the greatest show on earth for the human mind and fodder for television nature specials for arm chair naturalists. It is raw. Primeval. Beautiful. Somtimes bloody. And it is the way to pepetuate a species as the earth rotates around the sun. I feel gifted that 10 years ago I witnessed wildebeest in migration on the Serengeti Plains not far from where early humans first walked. And yesterday morning I was happy to hear 'my' sandhill cranes in flight. I think this was their departing flight, not the daily trip to the local corn stubble field. As the cranes winged over my barn on that frosty red dawn it was awe inspiring, a melodic wonder of nature. The photo above: A gathering of cranes at sunset in the Hula Valley of Israel's Upper Galilee as they continue on their grand journey from Europe down to Africa. Maybe one day we humans will decipher how species know it is time to slip into collective travel mode and navigate en mass through all sorts of weather to reach a place of new life, and then return when Earth wobbles back to a better warming rendezvous with the sun. It won't matter if we don't. What matter is they are free to migrate, unhindered by human roadblocks. And the photo below: a rare whooping crane captured in flight (bird in the lead) with a sandhill crane near Jackson, Michigan. The time of their great migration is near.
Over 2,500 sandhill cranes and one whooping crane have staged near Jackson at the Phyllis Haehnke Memorial Audubon Sanctuary (operated by the Michigan Audubon Society) in preparation for migration. The whooping crane is the white bird in the lead. This photo from Oct 31st is courtesy of Diane Constable. (Excellent job Diane!)