by Darcy Thomas

In the darkness of an early October morning, a small group of birders gathered together at the West Valley Ponds viewing area with binoculars and spotting scopes and waited for sunrise. At first light, Canada Geese began to cackle and Mallards began their quacking. Then as sunrise brightened the skies with gorgeous colors, Sandhill Cranes stirred and slowly began flying out of the pond in small groups, their ancient rolling cries filling the air.

There were about 400 cranes on the pond taking their time flying out to the fields for the day. The spectacle was thrilling and enchanting and it was a fun event to share with other bird lovers. We stood around sipping our hot drinks, talking about birds, and watching the beauty of the big birds before heading out ourselves for the daily routine.