Tomorrow is my birthday, but we celebrated it today. EJ bought me four (of many) books that I have wanted. I’d rather have books than new clothes or flowers or chocolate or jewelry.
However, the gift I ask for every year is an enjoyment of autumn with EJ and JJ. This year I chose to go to a nearby bird sanctuary. It wasn’t far but we had never gone to it before. We hadn’t even heard of it before. I found it on the Internet. The website said it is 900 acres and that among others, bald eagles, hawks, woodpeckers, bald eagles, blue herons, whooping cranes, and thousands of sandhill cranes can be seen there.
We had considered stopping on the way to the sanctuary at a cider mill for cider and donuts. I think that cider and donuts are the best birthday treat in October. EJ searched the Internet for a convenient cider mill, but he couldn’t find any that was close enough, and we all agreed that the sanctuary was our primary goal. We ended up stopping at a Tim Hortons for a dozen assorted donuts and coffee for EJ and lattes for JJ and me. Yum.
As we drove through the beautiful autumn countryside, sipping our hot drinks, JJ said that he was having so much fun that he felt like it was all of our birthdays instead of just mine. Which, really, is why I love to be given experiences as my birthday–because they are something we can all totally enjoy together.
When we had parked and walked into the sanctuary, we immediately saw a red-headed woodpecker in a tree. The scenery was gorgeous and the temperatures were perfect–cool, but neither too cold nor too hot. We each had binoculars. JJ used the camera binoculars while I took pictures with my camera when I wasn’t looking through my binoculars. I’m glad we had binoculars because many of the birds were far enough away that without the binoculars we couldn’t have seen much of anything.
We saw some sort of bird of prey with white tail feathers. JJ is quite sure it was a bald eagle. We walked along a trail that led through beautiful woods and meadows with grasses that were taller than we were. We stopped along a lake and saw ducks and a huge blue heron flying overhead. Then we came back to our starting point and sat on a bench and peered through our binoculars at huge whooping cranes flying gracefully in the marsh.
I had read that in the late afternoon the sandhill cranes come in to land and we had really hoped to stay long enough to see them. However, JJ started to not feel very well (he doesn’t know if it’s the respiratory infection he’s been fighting or the effects of the donut) so we left earlier than we planned. JJ felt really bad about being the cause of a shortened day but I told him that if it would make him feel better, I would insist that we return on another day (soon!) so that we can finish the fun and see the cranes land. I read that they will be in our area through November so we still have time. On the way home, we saw two cranes near the road and JJ took pictures of them. I told him, “See? We didn’t miss out on seeing cranes after all!”
When we got home, we ate supper and then prepared for a quiet evening at home. We will probably watch a movie together later. I started a fire in the wood stove. The temps are cool enough outside that a fire feels delightful.
I think my birthday celebration couldn’t have been better.