|The nest site or what is left of it.|
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
FINAL SANDHILL CRANE UPDATE: AN UNHAPPY ENDING... A NEW BEGINNING ?
Last night in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, we had a major thunderstorm. Pounding rain plus gum ball size hail fell on us for over an hour. As soon as it started, I began to worry about the cranes that we wrote about last month. If you remember, we had a rainstorm then that threatened the crane's nest and eggs http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/04/cranes-fight-to-save-their-eggs-from.html . The nest and eggs were almost lost during that storm despite heroic efforts by the two adult cranes. But they managed to rebuild the nest although nowhere near as large as it had been but large enough. In the middle of the storm, we drove down to the pond to check in. We could not take any images due to the darkness and the storm but I could see a parent sitting on the nest in the dark, in the rain, in the hail. Actually they were sitting in the water and there was no sign of the nest. I assumed the eggs were on the last piece of land not underwater. I went back this morning and when I arrived at the pond a great sadness came over me. They were gone!!!
The nest, the eggs and the parents were gone. I spoke to a gentleman, named Willy, who lives on the pond and he said at 5 am the parents were there walking around but there was no evidence of the eggs. I am not sure if the eggs are at the bottom of the pond or if something ate them. There is talk of an alligator in the pond but I would have thought he would have struck before this. I am guessing that the eggs are at the bottom of the pond.
I know the world has had many tragedies over the last year and compared to them, this is not that big. But in my world, the world of a nature photographer, and in the lives of the people who live around the pond and watched the nest and the cranes desperate battle to save their unborn young, this is a tragedy. As Willy walked away this morning, he had a sad look on his face and said, "Nature can be hard."
It is true. We see it on a large scale much too often with Katrina and Japan: plus the flooding in the mid west that is occurring as I write, but this was also real. There was a family that was destroyed and I feel sad for them. I feel sad for all of us who saw their struggles and tried to will the water level to lower. We will not be able to see these beautiful creatures be born, learn to fly and share our neighborhood with them. We, who live in this neighborhood, all lost something in the rains last night. The loss will be felt for awhile and when we drive by the pond, we will feel that loss deeply.
Let me leave this posting with a final images of two brave parents working to save their nest, to help us remember their efforts and their dedication to family. (images taken during the previous storm)
This post was going to end with the above images but before I posted, I went outside to my backyard. Phyllis was doing her editing of my writing checking for punctuation and grammatical errors so I went for a walk. As I looked up into one of our pine trees, I started to smile!! The cycle of life had started. In our tree, a morning dove was sitting on her nest and I assume her eggs. Hope springs eternal in nature and I had to smile.