Ribeye of the Sky

Molting Sandhill Crane

On Monday, they lifted the red flag warning in Monterey that my father and brother had been under. This warning was caused by the passing remnants of a hurricane that had previously hit Mexico on its Pacific side. High winds and dry lightning had been forecasted. Fortunately, no new fires of note were sparked. At about the same time that the red flag was lifted, the evacuation warning that they had also been under was withdrawn. Additionally, four other fire zones that were between my dad’s house and the River fire and who were under a mandatory evacuation order, had that order lifted too. My brother told me that the air quality had improved significantly, but it had been pretty bad. All-in-all things worked out as best as could be expected. The River fire is hardly contained, so I wouldn’t say that they are out of danger yet, but they definitely dodged a bullet.

In other news, we made it to the cabin yesterday. It was another epic, 12-hour, 700+ mile drive, but we made it easily, in just one day. South of Rudyard, Anne saw about fifty Sandhill cranes hanging out together in a mowed hay field. Later north of Rudyard, we saw another half-dozen cranes. Since, we weren’t on the highway, I could stop in the middle of the road and take their picture. The one shown is molting, losing its summer tan feathers for a much more sophisticated grey set that it will wear all winter, after they migrate south in a month or two. The Sandhill is Michigan’s tallest bird, but down south where it winters, it is called the rib-eye in the sky. It is hunted down there for its meat that is supposed to taste of beef. That’s one heck of a price to pay for being a snow-bird.

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