As I have related in earlier posts, the area around our Illinois townhouse is being extensively developed. The surrounding former cornfields that were slowly turning back into prairie have now disappeared. A single 3 acre plot reserved for a future "park" has been freshly graded but contains a large pile of topsoil. This had been removed from the planned home sites about 10 years ago. This dirt pile was stored for use on the lawns of the planned community of 36 buildings, each housing 4 to 6 living units.
The economic downturn halted all construction after only 7 buildings were completed. Now the remaining 29 are in various stages of completion; some of the units are finished and occupied.
While the fields were mowed once or twice a year to comply with local codes, the pile of topsoil was allowed to accumulate high weeds and shrubs. It was home to Song, Vesper and Savannah Sparrows and a pair of Eastern Meadowlarks. After returning from our Arizona trip two weeks ago I noticed that a pair of Sandhill Cranes were foraging and loafing on and in the immediate area of the topsoil pile.
One morning only a few days later I heard loud and urgent double calls as the two cranes bugled in turn from the top of the mound. I was not entirely sure of the cause of their agitation, but a slice of dirt had just been removed from the left side of the mound. Perhaps it disturbed or destroyed a nest or young bird.
These photos were taken from the front sidewalk of our condo. As a bulldozer arrived for another load the cranes flew off and I have not seen them since.
I do not expect to be filing many more new images in my FLICKR "Illinois Yard Birds" set.
My video clip documents the cranes' urgent calls.
Shared in The Bird D'Pot