Where we bird the water doesn't ever freeze due to it being a lake to recirculate the water that cools the energy plant. It makes for some interesting micro climates.
The sky turned colors as the sun rose. The gulls were cruising the edges of the lake looking for an easy meal. The herons were all hunkered down on the warm side of the break trying to keep from freezing.
All that mist from the lake was freezing as ice on the plants and heavy frost was on the rocks at waters edge.
When we came to the other area where we bird there was a a van sitting there with a big antenna on it. That was our first clue that the Whooping Cranes were still in the area. Eva Szyszkoski, the biologist that was manning the tracker this morning, was sitting there listening to the device.
I asked her how far away the WHCR could be and still hear the tracker. Of course there are many variables but on the ground up to 7 miles and in the air 30 miles. WOW I should have taken notes because Eva was a wealth of information. She also told us that one of these Whooping Cranes is the youngster that was here last year on its journey South. It is a female and is now in its adult plummage. Thank you for being patient and answering my questions Eva. I am still wondering if this female introduced this group to this area since she was safe here last year.
CORRECTION: Not only should I have taken notes for information I should have taken notest to get my information correct. Please see Eva's comment for tracking milage correction. Plus you can go Here for more interesting information.Eva also gave me this pamphlet that has lots of information. One of the web sites that you can go to for more information is the Whooping Crane Eastern Project here. They tell about how they raise the whoopers. All very interesting. Plus you can find ways to help with the project.
Our luck held as we drove around the county scouting for the annual Christmas Bird Count. We were blessed with a sighting of the Whooping Cranes that are loafing in this area. They were in a group way out in a field feeding. We stayed in our truck on the county road and viewed the cranes with our telescope. I digiscoped the pictures since they were so far away. There are two rusty ones in this group. They are the youngsters.
You can see the transmitters on their legs. The biologists can tell which crane it is by the color coded bands and transmitters. I am amazed that the Whoopers haven't departed from here what with how cold the weather we have had the past few days. It is time they departed for Florida.