At 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 6, 2013, a single sandhill crane circled above the upland marsh between Tower and Bluff Roads across from Wawanissee Point in the Baraboo Bluffs. Its lone call reverberated over the near foot of fluffy snow that fell the day before.
Could this be one of the young reared here last summer? Or might it be one of the adults returning without its mate? The coming days may reveal the answer.
The crane’s return to the marsh signals spring’s arrival and the beginning of the spring bird migration, for us at the Inn at Wawanissee Point. We also heard geese overhead the evening before as the snowstorm was dwindling.
Robins, red winged blackbirds and perhaps a hearty bluebird will be next. Schedule a spring birding vacation soon.
The contiguous, mixed hardwood forests in the Baraboo Range host 135 breeding bird species, which you can see from many hiking trails and by car.
Birding By Car
Closest to the Inn, drive along Steinke Basin near Devil’s Lake State Park’s north shore, South Shore Road through the Park’s south end, and Roznos Meadow and the Merrimac Preserve along Marsh Road and State Highway 113.
Baxter’s Hollow State Natural Area, seven miles west of U.S. Highway 12, is another spot where you can view birds by car or on foot, along Stone Pocket Road. Drive further west into central Sauk County to meander Rustic Roads Orchard, Schara and Ruff to see more birds. For more suggestions to bird by car near the Inn, see the late Harold Kruse’s article at The Nature Conservancy’s Web site, and download his birding map.
The Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area along the Wisconsin River nine miles northeast of Baraboo offers another ecosystem in which to see many migrating bird species while driving Levee Road, another Rustic Road.
Spring 2013 may present an uncommon opportunity to see early spring migration by snowshoe, since the March 5 storm further fortified the thick snow cover around Baraboo, Wis. Come now to enjoy the last x-county skiing and snowshoeing.
Annual Midwest Crane Count
Regardless of the weather, about 3,000 volunteers will arise early Saturday, April 13, 2013 to help count cranes during migration in six states from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. If you’d like to help count cranes during a spring birding vacation in Baraboo, contact Sauk County’s crane count coordinator, Roy Franzen, at 608-356-8948. Afterward enjoy Trudy’s hearty breakfast.
Learn more about the Annual Midwest Crane Count here.
Reserve a guest room for your spring getaway. Call us at 608-355-9899 or click Check Availability at the top of the page.