Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Woodbridge Road Revisited

From Woodbridge Road, Lodi

Can't stay away from those Sandhill Cranes.
We were in Sacramento, headed home. The roads were open; the weather clear. Which route to take?
Of course we head back to Lodi, to see what has changed in the two weeks since we were there for the Sandhill Crane Festival. (The cranes are in residence throughout the winter.)

As we suspected, more fields had been flooded. Swans were starting to settle in. The cranes were still grazing in the fields, keeping a respectful distance from the lookie-loo birders on the road. It's drive-by birding only here. Some gates had been added at spots where we'd seen people walking into the fields, sending the cranes into the air. (Cranes don't panic, but they seem to maintain their distance.)

Midday is quiet time. The official Isenberg Preserve was nearly devoid of waterfowl, with only a few cranes. We did spot hundreds of cranes in one field of alfalfa. They are clearly organized, with one crane as lookout while the others graze; they take turns at this.

But prime time here is morning and evening, when the great flocks of cranes and swans and geese and ducks fly out and in. Pace yourself accordingly.

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