Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Loose ends

The last week or so has been rather hectic, what with single parenting for a week, car accidents (no injuries, thank the gods. Or not) kid and spouse going back to school, pieces of music to learn at the last minute (more about that later - I guess you've heard that one before), financial issues to deal with...

So, now I have a job application to turn in, some pieces of music to finish figuring out and work up to performance level, a meme I'd like to get to and some pictures that I've been meaning to post but haven't gotten to. Right now, I'm going to deal with the pictures. As is usually the case when I put up photos, if you want to see them better, click on them and they'll probably get bigger. I wish the same could be said for my bank account, but don't we all?

Winter is drawing to a close and spring is drawing nigher, although it wouldn't surprise me if we get more snow before summer arrives. In Wisconsin, we almost always get snow in March, it's not at all unusual in April, May isn't out of the question and a couple of times in my life we've gotten snow in June. It snowed several inches last Friday while Ms. Geranium was making her way back from Pittsburgh (now, that was an adventure! I hope she posts about it.) and we're supposed to get snow tomorrow. But, spring is definitely rearing it's head. Over the last couple of weeks, the birdies have been making their presence known. Noisy little buggers. At our local Bark Park, I've been seeing robins, hearing redwing blackbirds and those obnoxious canada geese never really leave, but now they're making one heck of a racket. (When I first moved to Wisconsin, canada geese were a rare sight, possibly endangered. Now, I think it's illegal to hunt them [there's good eatin' on one of those!] and, probably due to climate change, they've figured out that they don't have to migrate south during the winter after all and they've become something of a nuisance.) A week or two ago when I was there I decided that, since the ice on the marsh would be melting soon, Molly and I would take a walk on it while we had the chance. We came across a couple of canada geese.

Molly had a few choice words for them. "Hey! What do you think you're doing? Get out of here! I mean it! And don't come back, or else!"

A few days later, Sparkly Seacow joined me on my daily rounds. The sandhill cranes had been quite noisy for a few days, so we went in search of the source. (Sandhill cranes were almost extinct for a while. Now, thanks in large part to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, you can see them rather often if you know where to look and know what they sound like. If you ever get to southern Wisconsin, the ICF is worth a trip. The ICF has been quite successful in their program of breeding cranes and reintroducing them to the wild. You can stand face to face with a number of different types of cranes, some of which are among the most rare birds in the world. Some of them are taller than most humans and look like freaking dinosaurs; it's an unnerving experience to have one of those critters eyeballing you from inches away.) We walked out across the still frozen marsh once again. SS wasn't too happy about it, but I could see that the ice was quite thick. We followed the noise and found one crane out in the marsh grasses. It's more or less in the center of the photo, but pretty well camouflaged. Make it bigger by doing that clicky thing, and you should be able to see it.

Those things are pretty big, but I wanted to see how close I could get. It decided I was too close and flew away. You can see it on the left of the photo below. The problem with that digital camera is that you can't see the screen when you're in the sun, so framing your shots involves a lot of guesswork.
I can still hear them every day, even when I can't see them. Must be mating season or something.

Related news: (Name withheld) of Springfield, WI was arrested when it was discovered he was killing and eating sandhill cranes. When asked what they tasted like, he replied "they taste kind of like bald eagle." Sorry.


Crayons said...

I enjoyed seeing these photos. This winter, my first back in Wisconsin in 25 years, has reminded me of the beauty of a stark winter landscape. Your photos show all the gradations of grey and brown that become invisible when spring comes.

I believe I'll take a field trip to the ICF. Thanks.

FranIAm said...

That is one extraordinary post.

The images - both from your camera and from your words are really amazing.

Thank you.

Suzy said...

Dang it, you stole the joke I was planning to use in my comment!

Nice photos. There is amazing variety of wildlife at that dinky little bark park. Cranes, rutting carp (or whatever it is that horny carp do), little green herons ... I will never forget the day of the thousands of little black frogs migrating to who knows where, nor the day of the turtle swimming under the ice.