Most days I wake up before the sun rises. Like most parents though, a normal morning is filled with gulping coffee in between making lunches, folding laundry, serving breakfast, letting the dog out, and getting kids out the door. On the weekends, we have one early riser and one kid who likes to sleep in so it usually feels like a full-time job just to get everyone moving at the same pace. Yesterday though, with the onset of daylight savings time we found everyone up & fed early. With the hope of catching a glimpse of a snow bunting or two, we piled into the car & took off for our beloved Horicon Marsh.
Maybe I hadn’t had enough coffee yet, but it didn’t really dawn on me the incredible experience I was about to have. On the way, we saw flocks of hundreds of blackbirds just starting to move around — it should have been an good indicator of what was to come, but I am slow in the mornings sometimes. We stepped out of the car and into quiet frost covered fields.
One thing that birdwatching teaches you — if you didn’t know it already — is that on cold mornings life in the forest starts moving high in the trees first…And as the sun rises, its rays make their way slowly but surely to the ground.
It was about this time that the huge numbers of Canadian geese and Sandhill Cranes started moving in The Marsh and the landscape erupted in a cacophony of birdsound. Cranes & geese and flocks of juncos took flight over us. Horicon Marsh is a giant hub for migratory birds and never has it been so apparent as at that moment when the whole world woke up.
We went on to find the beautiful snow buntings we sought along with a myriad of other species including Whooping Cranes, flickers, pelicans, hawks, Great Blue Herons, and countless waterfowl. While each sighting was exciting, nothing quite compared to that eruption of life when the sun touched The Marsh.
Yes, it was one of those days that I was just so happy to be in this place with my loved ones. Blessed to have the chance to watch the whole world wake up before my eyes and ears, in awe of the wildlife I was able to witness and observe. Thankful to go to sleep with my family tired & happy. And this morning, we all awoke rested and ready to start another beautiful week of living.