It was a lovely January day this past Saturday – temps near 60’F, and the sun poked its head out for a while. Mark and I took a nice road ride for the first time in too many weeks, over into Hamilton County and one of our favorite loops off of Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.
I guess it’s that time of year, because we saw and heard lots of Sandhill Cranes. This area lies along one of their popular migration paths, and every winter we are lucky to have them stop and visit. Up until 2008 (?) the TWRA with the help of several local organizations had held an annual Crane Festival at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Birchwood. From what I could find, the event no longer takes place … but the cranes still come to the area in the tens of thousands.
They have a very distinctive and unusual call, and one day last winter I remember hearing them flying overhead – for nearly 3 straight hours. An endless parade of cranes kept coming and coming; I had never seen so many. It was truly awe-inspiring.
There is one corn field along our bike route where I have often seen the cranes stop and congregate. As we were riding by on Saturday, sure enough, they were there. While I was attempting to take a few pictures of them on the ground, several of them took to the air above my head.
I’m hoping that one day this week if we have some nice weather, I will ride out along the Hiwassee and out to the Refuge area (if it is open?) and take the good camera and try to get some more photos.
One the way home we had another “bird-related” road obstacle. Definitely one of the more unusual roadblocks we’ve encountered, even here in rural TN. These two guys were quite, well, let’s just say not timid. They came right up to us when we stopped for them, and when we got going, they seemed to want to run along with us for a few meters. Oh brother.
It’s always interesting and amazing … the stuff we see while riding. 🙂