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 site or what is left of it.

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.







18 comments:

alejandro guzman said...

Sad but beautiful and so poignant..

Thanks mate

A

Anonymous said...

Bret Love 8:45am Apr 27
Great post, Jim! Nice reminder that, no matter how big or small, EVERY life has meaning and value.

Monu Awalla said...

happy ending at last.. nice pics..

ABHIJIT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fantacy in practicality said...

i felt i was watching a documentary on sandhill cranes. you frame the pictures one after the other so well that at the end i have a feeling of happy ending story of two brave crane parents. well done, Jim.

Alpana Jaiswal said...

Beautiful Jim..just goes on to show natural instincts...they look so magnificent.

Jorie Pacli said...

Nature can be hard indeed! Everything here on earth is unpredictable.... That is why we should treasure every moment we have... And that moment you had with the cranes were just something to keep and cherish... Your pictures Jim are valuable treasures of these wonderful creatures... Thanks as always...;)

Nava.K said...

great narrative and explanation as well wonderful shots.

Ravenmyth said...

It breaks my heart when I read of the tragedies in Nature....so many of our species are in trouble or disappearing. As Nature is connected to us, we are connected to it. Beautifully said Jim. Through struggle...we receive the miracles....

Mary said...

Such a sad thing to have happened. Your photos are captivating in themselves. Hopefully, they will begin a new family again soon:)

Alfandi said...

just nature..beautiful and cruel at the same time..

Jessica Brant said...

Jim,
So sad yet captured beautifully in your words and images
xoxo
Jessica

Jim said...

Sad ending to a wonderful photo story Jim.
Nature can be cruel. Down our street is a large pond, populated by mallard ducks, paradise geese and pukeko.
A late brood of mallards we have been watching-originally 8 ducklings would troop across the road to the pond, slowly whittled down, losing one here, another there. But that mallard duck successfully raised 2 to maturity!
OK Nature can be cruel, but thank goodness all those mallards are not raising all their broods as the place would be overpopulated. Nature finds a balance if man leaves her to it.

Aaron said...

It broke my heart to read that the eggs are gone. Such a sad ending to such a hopeful story.

Glad the circle of life was complete and you found another nest today :)

Hema Nimbekar said...

it is sad but yeah ending is good...ur photos add special visual support...grt narration and visual aids...

Nature can be Hard....but its nature still beautiful...life and death are true crust of life...

your photos of these birds(parents)..taken at the time of previous storm... thats lovely one..how parents cares, love, protect and do any thing for their offspring/children..without fear of lost of their life....the most important is their child...creation of their own...its like a creative/artist take most care of their creative product...precious one...

Lucylastica2 said...

Nature can seem so cruel sometimes :-(

melissa said...

why do i get a feeling that my reactions will be quite different?

i liked your post jim...it's honest and it shows how deep your relationship has grown with those cranes...

i feel a bit sad and lost... where are they? what happened to them? it's truly survival of the fittest...

what happened to those eggs?

i was looking at the pictures in between while resting in the office...and you helped me reminisce what has transpired over the days...

as always, i lingered on the first and last photo...and their contrasting thoughts... loss and hope/ discovery... i like the way you built your concept jim :)... always leaving me with deep realizations about life and nature...

it was a big sandwich treat for me...;)thanks...

Abhisek Panda said...

Really awesome post.It reminds me of my family,my parents.Really sad to read about the eggs but happy for the parents heroic efforts and also the happy ending. :)