Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
Email Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have to compare yesterday's crane count to fishing. Sometimes you don't see any, but the day is never wasted. Plus, a bad day of crane counting is still better than a good day at work.
The weather wasn't too cold for the start of Earth Week and the 5:30 a.m. start of the Annual Midwest Crane Count, though a few raindrops fell. My son accompanied me and we saw lots of deer, some turkeys and even a bluebird. We hiked around in the woods and saw the sunrise together. Even though we didn't see any cranes, hanging out in nature is not something we do enough of and the day wasn't wasted. Today, the same son would have gone canoeing with me down the Fox if I hadn't totalled the canoe earlier and if the Wauk. Parks canoe trip hadn't been cancelled due to the danger of high water.
Because I used to work weekends, and because of the coordinator's ACT tests last year, yesterday was the first time we were able to get together with others for breakfast after the count at the Machine Shed. Sara and her family were there as were several other counters, including first time Waukesha counter Kathy, who used to count in Central Wisconsin. It was interesting to hear how long the others have been doing the count, where they count, how many they saw, and why they are doing it. Sara, our coordinator, has parlayed her experience and devotion into a $5000.00 scholarship to Northland College in Ashland and will continue to lead our count from there as she increases her knowledge of the natural world.
There's a nice front page article in today's Sunday Journal Sentinel on the quest to reintroduce a second migratory population of whooping cranes in North America. Whooping cranes are the rarest cranes in the world and what we're doing in our count somehow helps in their reintroduction. Wherever sandhill cranes live, so whooping cranes can. By noting shifts in sandhill populations due to food, development or whatever, we are also helping tell the International Crane Foundation how successful their efforts at reintroduction could be. We're not just counting sandhill cranes any more. Sure, we're watching for a rare whooper, but we're also watching for leg bands, radio collars, and certain behavior... Are cranes exhibiting mating behavior or are they all males? Are they guarding their territory or are they passing through? It all means something to someone. Getting out in nature on an early morning means a lot to me.