Very soon the Sandhill Cranes and other various waterfowl will fly off the lake, just like they do every morning, but soon they won't be coming back. Water in the lake is not half what it used to be, it seems there's more land than water, and their food must be in short supply.
I had a pleasant surprise this morning. When I checked the weather, which I do every morning to see what I'm going to be up against, and the ten-day forecast had all the high temperatures above 70°, and several were pushing 80°. I don't think I've seen that since last summer.
Could this mean that the cold and snow are over for Southern Arizona? Could the weather be getting back to normal? It's hard to say if this is a permanent trend, but 75° in the daytime, 50s at night, and humidity in the teens are normal around here, but will it last?
The old-timers used to say, "if March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb." If that's true, with all the wind and snow I had at the beginning of March, it came in like a lion.
I walked around the lake before sunrise this morning because of a really pretty sunrise. There's not a whole lot of Sandhill Cranes left here anymore; it looked like there were only a few hundred flying away to feed this morning, so watching them in the morning doesn't have the same impact as 20,000 Cranes leaving together. I probably wouldn't have bothered if it hadn't been such a beautiful sunrise.
I'll be leaving here tomorrow, hoping to stay at Picacho Peak State Park to see some wildflowers that should be blooming there. Unfortunately, I don't have a reservation, and this is their busiest time of the year, so I don't know if they'll have room for me, but I've got to drive past there any way to get to Ajo, Arizona, so it doesn't hurt to try.
Very soon there will be no more cacophonous croaking sounds, no more thunderous roar of thousands of wings flapping in unison, and no more long trails Of Sandhill Cranes as they fly back to the Lake. I watched a couple of hundred snow geese fly away from the lake yesterday, and this morning I didn't see a single snow goose... It can happen that fast.
No, there will be no sounds at all. Silence will again fall over Whitewater Draw as it does every year, when the lakes and ponds dry up and become nothing but mud as the water is siphoned off to sprinkle the fields of the surrounding farms.
But the Cranes and the other waterfowl will return.
And when they do there will be fools, fools like me , waiting in the cold, dark, mornings to savor the natural beauty of the scene and take their picture.
There was a time last month when the Cranes filled the skies when they left the lakes in the morning. Now their numbers are but a trickle. I watched them fly away this morning, I'm assuming to get some food, but was it? All the snow geese left yesterday, is this the migration flight of the Sandhill Cranes.
The Sandhill cranes have been coming to this area for as long as there has been memory, and they will return again and again.... As will I.