Riding South

My guess is that the 100 or so Sandhill Cranes I saw along the Sugar River Bike Trail earlier today are assembling and munching on grass to prepare for their flights south.

They make an interesting sound.  Kind of like a clucking purrrr; if you can imagine it.

I heard them before I saw them, and then noticed some in flight and was able to stop my bike, grab the camera, and take some long distance shots before the trio in this picture circled back around toward me so I could get a little bit closer focus.

The first time I ever heard Sandhill Cranes was while on an insurance call in north Wisconsin more than 10 years ago when I heard what sounded something like frogs coming through the open window. 

No, the owner said, those are Sandhill Cranes.  Sure enough, and I saw two standing in the driveway not too far behind my car as I was leaving the house.

They stand tall - close to 4 feet - is my guesstimate.  They look regal and seem to be surveying the world around them.  Of course, with legs that long they may be watching out for bowling balls!

The ride was a good one - traveling from Madison's west side to the Southwest Bike Trail which became the Badger State Trail and staying with that until turning on the Sugar River Trail to its end (or start) in Brodhead.
It was the coolest ride for me this year and while it was chilly - it wasn't too bad.  Especially since the wind seemed to be either at my back or blocked by the berms and tree line along the former railroad beds.

It's been more than 30 years since I rode on the Sugar River Trail and the bridges and Sugar River itself brought back great memories of riding the trail with my high school friends.  In fact, I am still riding the same bike.  The only difference seemed to be the slight ache in my knees.

The long days of riding is quickly coming to a close, but the plan is to get in as many as possible - it's a joy and blessing to be out riding in God's Creation and finding new places to explore.