To escape the worries of daily life right now while maintaining social distance, Jane guides me to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area southeast of Benson. Because this part of Arizona is pretty much a desert, I am shocked to find a waterfowl refuge reminiscent of Lake Mattamuskeet in coastal North Carolina here amidst dust, tumbleweeds and cactus.
A thundering wall of avian noise greets us as we begin hiking the shoreline trails. We are not able to discover the source of the cacophony at first. Our lengthy search ends among the dense marsh rush. Here we spy a multitude of roosting blackbirds. Their colorful body markings indicate they may be yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds.
After a couple of hours, the blackbirds settle down and precision flights of Sandhill Cranes begin entering landing patterns for nearby fields. They tease us with the prospect of great pictures, but settle too far away for my lens to capture. I hope that my sharing a glimpse of this surprising natural gift with you will make your day a little brighter. Please be safe and be healthy!