My DH and I are very lucky to live about a half hour from the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge which allows us to indulge in Montana bird watching. The refuge was a bevy of activity and the weather warm and clear–a perfect day for a Sunday drive together with the man I love. I truly believe relationships are built on small experiences that we enjoy together as a couple, showing and sharing the beauty we see around us.
The Columbian ground squirrels were running all over the place–apparently just out of hibernation. We walked out on the Kelsey Trail besides marshes and stretches of water. Canada geese were wildly honking and let us know they were not happy about our closeness. (We have a pair that are often in our back yard, so we know how territorial they can be.) A group of northern harriers danced over the far reeds, while mallards and coots weaved paths through the reeds.
One of the large birds we love seeing in the spring is the sand hill crane. We were first introduced to these birds in California, while attending a Nature Conservancy Legacy Event by the Cosumnes River Project. There were huge birds flying by the thousands against a backdrop of a setting sun to land in stubbled fields of harvested corn. All the way they made their strange, prehistoric sound. (If you’ve never heard one, listen to the sound at the Cornell bird website.)
Several of them entertained us today, as did the great blue herons nesting in the pine trees, and the hundreds of red-winged blackbirds making their high screeching call.
One of the more astounding things that happened involved snow geese. There was a flock of about a hundred fifty to the east of us as we walked down the trail. We stopped to look at them. For no reason at all, they picked themselves up, flew in front of us and landed in the pond to the west.
While I write stories, I remember the places I’ve been and incorporate the unique sounds and sights of place in my work. A reviewer for my first book, California Sunset, said, “This book is a wonderful snapshot of the central coast of California and the people who inhabit this area.” As I continue on to my next series set on the Rocky Mountain Front of Montana, I hope to continue that tradition. I’m thinking I’m going to need a sand hill crane in there!
Spring is here. I hope you have a chance to explore your home area, wherever you live, with friends, family, and someone special in your life.