Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Migrations

Our days in Winter Texas are winding down - both birds and people are beginning their northward Spring migration. 

Two days ago the sky was filled with vultures and raptors as far the eye could see, all headed in a northerly direction. Most larger birds tend to migrate during daylight. It is striking to see raptors scattered across the sky from horizon to horizon, not in flocks - all individuals moving in programmed directions to predestined destinations. Small birds tend to migrate at night so you cannot see them unless you look at the moon with a telescope. Like an elaborate magic trick, one day there are none in our Minnesota May yard; then the next morning our trees and shrubs are filled with wood warblers.

On this day someone with incredible eyesight spotted a kettle of Sandhill Cranes, tiny spots swirling in the high sky just beneath the clouds. They ride the thermals up a couple of thousand feet seeking elevation and tailwinds to carry them as they glide for two, three, four hundred miles toward their prehistoric northern nestling grounds. Very efficient winged dinosaurs. If they linger long on their journey, we may meet them again feeding in fields along the Platte, gaining energy for their final sprint to the Canadian prairies and tundra.


Last night we met with nine of our birding and bugging friends for an end of season dinner at a group friendly Italian restaurant. Having recently read The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture Of Criminals, Collectors, And Conservationists, I particularly enjoyed Rick's firsthand stories of the passionate backstabbing intrigue of the butterfly world. This morning one of the couples are already on the RV road, headed to their home in Missouri. The rest of us are hesitating, hanging back with the birds for a while, as we are all from either Minnesota, Vermont or Ontario. 

A good year? The weather has been tough, very unpredictably hot, cold. or wet, yet we have seen some great birds and have had good times with good friends and neighbors. And the party ain't over yet, we have two more weeks before we head to Rockport, Texas and then likely on to Kearney, Nebraska before returning to Minnesota in time to do our taxes. More photos upcoming.

3 comments:

George A said...

Sounds like good times! Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your priorities straight. Got to be sure to get those tax returns done on time - for the tax man cometh.

Anonymous said...

Marv