March 1 usually signals the beginning of the breeding season for Mississippi sandhill cranes. So what happens when there is a leap year and an extra day in February? The cranes ignore it and just carry on as usual. That extra day this year happened to land on a Wednesday, which meant we had one last crane tour to conduct for the season. We had a small, but enjoyable, group of visitors for the tour including the man who is the voice for McGruff, the police crime fighting dog.
We were able to find 11 cranes for them to observe, along with a good view of the two young eagles. I’m thinking it won’t be long before these youngsters start flapping their wings and the next thing you know, they’ll be fledging.
Then, on the way back to headquarters, we encountered this water moccasin snake on the side of one of the refuge roads. This snake had attitude! As we moved to the opposite edge of the road to pass it, it reared up and snapped open its mouth as we passed. It was successful in sending us on our way.
In the afternoon, all of the volunteers went along with Doug to visit several areas on, and adjacent to, the refuge. Several volunteers had never seen the eagle’s nest, and we got quite a show. While the mother eagle was perched in a nearby snag, the father swooped in with a big fish to feed the ever hungry offspring. Then we went to the Western Jackson County Water Treatment Plant that is surrounded by refuge lands. Diana and I will be leading refuge tours beginning next Wednesday that differ from the crane tours. This will be a tour that includes birds other than cranes (which will be nesting) and whatever wildflowers are blooming. We wanted to check out the treatment plant for a possible destination to include in the tour. While there, we spotted a pair of cranes working the fields surrounding the ponds. Tomorrow we will let the biologists know the colors of their leg bands.
I’m sure just about all of you know that in addition to being leap year, today is also Sadie Hawkin’s Day. That means I have the opportunity to propose to the man of my dreams today! Sorry to say, I have to report that I haven’t found a likely candidate. But on the bright side, I’ve got four more years to investigate possibilities. LOL!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy