Sandhill Cranes Grus canadensis
Waterloo County, ON
10 June 2014
In the vicinity of Grass Lake in the very southern part of Waterloo County (in fact where it abuts Brant County) a number of Sandhill Cranes have bred in recent years. This stately bird finds suitable habitat and an abundance of food, and has been faithful to the area each year.
Miriam and I travelled down there to see whether we could find a few and were well rewarded as the pictures below will illustrate. Even for a bird so tall, the equally tall grasses and other vegetative cover can render them almost impossible find at this time of year, without a good helping of luck, and some persistent searching.
This time all we needed was luck for we spotted a pair almost as soon as we arrived. In fact they had a chick, although we didn't see it, but were shown pictures by a photographer already there.
In the pictures below it appeared to us that the adults were trying to show their offspring a way through the fence, since they poked their heads through the wire without even coming close to getting stuck. They did this repeatedly but, if indeed they were trying to coax the chick through, they had no success and ultimately wandered back into the grassland.
In a nearby marsh, Red-winged Blackbirds Agelaius phoeniceus were finding an abundance of caterpillars, high protein fare so essential to the development of their young.
Male Savannah Sparrows Passerculus sandwichensis, fuelled by a surge in testosterone, were singing from every prominent perch it seemed, anxious to attract a mate and defend their territories.
There were other species to round out the time spent there, but the highlight without a doubt was the Sandhill Cranes, and we returned home well satisfied with our excursion.