On the drive to work, I made a "last second" decision to check on the Cackling Goose, that had been present the evening before. "Why bother" it was present at sunset on the 29th, but fortunately I checked. Just as I pulled off Rte 119 and over the small bridge on West Meadow Road, I immediatley saw 4 Sandhill Cranes, a mere 50 meters from the road, walking in the corn field. These birds leisurely walked about and fed, on the remains of last year's crop, for the ~10 minutes I watched from my car.
Afterwards, I moved on down the road and looked for the Cackling Goose, but I could not find it. This bird was associating with a flock of 100+ Canada Geese, while the same approximate number of Canadas remained, the "Cackler" was not seen. While returning to Rte 119 I noticed the 4 Sandhills had moved a few hundred yards near some manure piles. A few other birders would try for the birds later in the day, including myself after work, but they had moved on.
Sandhill Crane sightings have increased in Massachusetts over the past 10-15 years, last week there was a sighting of a single bird in Leicester, Ma., last fall Rachel Scheerer and I had seen 2 from the Mount Watatic Hawkwatch and I understand there is now a pair nesting in the state of Maine.