On a rainy day, we drove the wet roads and had killer views of a nesting pair foraging along the waterways. You may notice the tracking devices on the legs. This is an endangered bird which is very much like our California Condor in Arizona. It is tracked and monitored across the US during migration.
But unlike the Kirtland's Warbler, it doesn't have the same type of security and monitoring because there are two separate populations(the Western and Eastern flocks) in the US.
And like the California Condor, these cranes almost went extinct. Thanks to conservation efforts, their population has slowly grown over the decades. With continued support, perhaps this crane will one day cloud the skies like the Sandhill Crane!
And what's a place without an awesome visitor's center? I really liked their set up here. Great displays, comfortable furniture in front of big windows with bird feeders, a boardwalk nearby, friendly park rangers and a gift shop!
I snapped a shot of this blanket and kinda wished I had purchased it. But I think it was up for auction so I just snapped a shot of this beautiful quilt work. I did however purchase a stuffed Whooping Crane for my office:) In the background, my Dad chats away with Gordon. My sister looks like she wants to fall asleep:) I realized that on this trip, my parents are both night owls. Me on the other hand? Not so much. I'm an early riser. Staying up past 9 PM is way too late:)
Anyhow, back to Necedah. I had never been to this place. But there were lots of great wildlife stops around the area! So we toured Necedah and surrounding towns. Restaurants were not so good. I wish we would have packed a lunch for this trip. We were excited about trying out the Little Crane Cafe but were turned away without a reason. We were a little bummed out. The owner has since apologized. Part of the birding fun is trying out new places to eat. And that did not happen on this day.
Another tricky bird that is very vocal but difficult to see is the Least Flycatcher. It wasn't a lifer for me but it was the first time I had a decent visual of the bird.
We headed to the Buena Vista Grasslands afterwards. While the heat and humidity were a bit intense, we had a great time finding lots of wonderful birds.
How beautiful is this Grasshopper Sparrow below? What a treat to see this bird out in the open! Usually they are secretive and hiding in the grasses! In Arizona, they are very tricky!
|The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow-from a banding project two years ago|
^^The above pic shows the dark colors of the Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow. The pic below is the more yellow and lighter Wisconsin version.
After the grasslands, we went to the Sandhill Wildlife area to finish off our birding adventures. What a lovely area! Although, there were plenty of ticks and deer flies to keep us on our toes!
One of the warblers that I didn't know much about, the Golden-winged Warbler, was present in this location in good numbers. It was a lifer for both of us and a very good looking bird. This warbler is in trouble due to habitat loss and the hybridization with Blue-winged Warblers. If you look closely at the pic, you'll see a band around the bird's leg. It's another warbler of concern.
I leave you with one of our nesting Whooping Cranes at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
And if you're in Texas or going to Texas, you need to check out this video on the Whooping Cranes(the Western Flock). Until next time......