Sometimes birding requires a Plan B. For example: Thursday Susan and I joined the caravan of migrant birders moving toward the un-walled land around Washtenaw, Michigan. It was a peaceful crowd that only wanted to welcome a new migrant that had just arrived from Scandinavia. The Spotted Redshank, a rare visitor to our country was putting on a wonderful display, close up, for all to see. Here comes the spoiler alert–we waited a day too long. When we arrived early afternoon on Thursday the people in place reported that the bird had not been seen all day. The most common reasoning was that there was a big change in the weather coming overnight and birds have the uncanny sense of getting out while the getting is good–or bad for the birders. We wandered around the designated spot in the farmlands of south-central Michigan for a couple hours. The cold weather finally drove us back to where could make a Plan B in the warmth of the car.
The new plan called for us to head for the famous (in the birder world) Haehnle Sanctuary near Jackson, Michigan to see the clouds of Sandhill Cranes on migration. Early in November the cranes reliably gather by the thousands in this spot on their southward journey.
Hmmm. Looks like we were a bit late–again. We counted 15 or 20 birds.
On Friday we woke to a couple inches of snow on our car and temperatures a bit above freezing. We returned to the ponds where the Redshank had last been seen on Wednesday, and struck out again. We talked with other birders, all sharing the same pain.
Oh well, if it was easy the place would be overrun with birders.
Sandhill Crane near Jackson, Michigan.