Saturday, August 25, 2007

Three Days on the Road

I'm just back from three days and more than 1700 miles on the road, driving my eldest daughter to Kenyon College in the tiny town of Gambier, Ohio, getting her moved in, attending a parents' meeting and a ceremonious opening convocation, and -- sniff -- leaving her there and driving back home. This photo was taken at dawn Thursday between Springfield and Columbus, Ohio, after four hours' sleep in a Springfield hotel.

I had a few good 70-mph bird sightings along the way:
  • A hawk, probably a red-tailed, on a powerline, not just hunkered down to watch for its next meal, but erect on its feet, looking down, utterly alert and poised for action.
  • Another hawk standing upright and still in the grassy ditch at the side of the road
  • A great blue heron's slow, majestic flap as it disappeared behind a line of trees that concealed a river
  • The incongruous beauty of a pure white egret against the green of a wetland amid the industrial blight of urban Indiana near Chicago
It was wonderful to leave the flatlands of Indiana, Illinois and southern Wisconsin behind and return to the hills and bluffs of western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. We live in a beautiful place.

Addendum, Sept. 8: Two weeks later, I suddenly remember that I also saw what I think must have been two sandhill cranes by the side of the interstate. They were tall, and their neck/beak configuration didn't say "heron" to me, so although I've not seen cranes live before, and didn't have a field guide handy, I think they must have been.

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