I took my Sissy over to Wisconsin to visit the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge on the Saturday before Easter (since we were both lucky enough to have that day off). The weather was clear and sunny when we left Rochester, but by the time we got to the refuge the weather had gotten overcast with occasional rain showers (but at least we didn't see any snow flurries!)
Due to the over abundance of rain in recent weeks, most of the roads inside the refuge were closed due to high water, so without a four-wheel drive, we were limited in the areas we were able to visit. Fortunately, we were able to get to the viewing tower at the edge of the Rynearson Pool #1 where we were lucky enough to see WHOOPING CRANES! I had only gotten a brief glimpse of one on a previous visit to NNWR and this was my Sissy's first sighting. What beautiful birds! We actually saw 4 on this day and it was definitely worth getting wet & cold for.
After talking to another guy in the parking lot, he told me how far I'd be able to get with the car before the roads became impassable, so we took off down the road in search of other birds. We hadn't gone far when we spotted this single Sandhill Crane in the water-filled ditch to the right. We had been hearing them since our arrival and my Sissy was thrilled to see one so close.
While we were watching the crane off to the right, we heard more in flight and coming closer to us. On the left side of the road was a larger pond and that's where this pair of Sandhill Cranes was headed. Wow! We were so excited to see them in flight and so close!
They strolled around for a while and finally found this patch of higher, dry ground where they were able to spend some time resting, preening their feathers, and enjoying the few minutes of sunshine on this otherwise dreary day.
I hope all of you get the chance to visit Necedah National Wildlife Refuge some day. Their beautiful new visitor's center is now open and if you check their website, they have lots of great programs open to the public throughout the year. I hope to get another chance to visit later this summer -- I'm sure the water levels will have gone down by then!