Let me get the disclaimer over with. I planned on posting last night but my laptop apparently decided I had been taking it for granted, perhaps after hearing the washing machine had decided Saturday morning that it had had enough too. But it hasn’t been all bad. I took off from work on Friday because I had a ticket to Steely Dan at Ravinia and there was really no way I could envision driving that far after working half a day. I was also rationalizing I could make up for not birding last weekend after the water heater staged its own rebellion.
Friday, the forecast was for scattered thunderstorms, but you can never tell where they’re going to scatter, so I got up as early as I my body would allow, and I managed to get to McGinnis Slough at 7:10 AM, whereupon a little rumble of thunder turned into a downpour. I sat in the car and waited for it to stop. Which it did, and then it started again. I must have gotten in and out of the car five times before I finally managed to take off for more than a few feet. And even then I had to stop and open up the umbrella. McGinnis got a good soak.
I think she might have stayed for the photo if the rain hadn’t suddenly picked up again…
When it seemed like I might yet be able to see a few birds, I took the shortest route to the south end of the preserve, stopping to admire the first Rose Mallow blossoms.
I wasn’t seeing as many birds as I heard, Marsh Wrens and Song Sparrows singing in between cloudbursts, Blue Jays calling from everywhere. But then I heard something different yet quite familiar. Sandhill Cranes. I followed the sound and found a pair of Sandhills and two young Great Blue Herons. Only one heron fit in the frame with the cranes.
A closer view of the cranes.
There was a break in the clouds, finally, so I ventured to the farther, northernmost side, where there were predictably a lot of Great Egrets. This group constitutes perhaps a third of the total I counted.
And one managed to fly by ever so slightly closer.
I left shortly after the sun was finally starting to shine, almost three hours later. When I got home I was a bit dismayed to find it had not rained at all on my garden while I was gone. But the quiet of McGinnis with the rain stayed with me and served as the perfect meditation to take a slow day off, nap, do a few chores and then go to Ravinia. Fagan, Becker and the excellent musicians that share the stage with them delivered another memorable concert. I have been singing their songs ever since.