In December 2014 I saw my first Sandhill Cranes -- two adults and two juveniles foraging in a field in Snohomish. They were WAY far away and I couldn't get any closer, and they were just small gray blobs through my binoculars. Another birder let me look through his scope, and I got slightly better views.
I was happy to add Sandhill Crane to my life list, though with a "BVD" notation ("Better View Desired").
On Saturday, I was able to remove that notation.
One of the six subspecies of Sandhill Cranes migrate this time of year from the far north (Arctic/northern Canada) to California via our lovely state, and will stop over to forage here and there -- mostly there. It is unusual for one to stop in the Puget Sound region -- and the Montlake Fill had only a handful of "fly over" records before, never one landing to forage.
This one turned up at the Fill on Friday -- which upset me, as had it been any Friday over the past twelve years, the one day of the week when I got to work from home, I would have driven there on my lunch hour to see it. Alas, thanks to a re-org, I no longer have a telecommute day. So I sat there at the office on Friday thinking, "Please stick around, please stick around just one more day!"
Well, as you can tell, the bird clearly listened to my plea. On Saturday morning I rushed to the Fill, where the crane was foraging not far from the trail. I got lovely views -- at one point it was no more than 25 feet away -- a great improvement on the Snohomish experience.
Beautiful bird. I trust it has found its proper flight path by now -- no one reported seeing it there on Sunday. Glad I got to see it!