Three Things Thursday: Sandhill Cranes (?), A Mostly New England Pizza, Coleus

My weekly exercise in gratitude, or as some of my blogging friends put it, three things that made me smile this week.

All right. I’m going to start with the best thing first, and the title, of course, gives it away. Yesterday, we took the long way home from our bike ride, driving in the car along country roads, listening to music, admiring the scenery. As we came to a large field bordering some gardens, I caught sight of four majestic birds flying overhead. They had long necks and long legs, and at first I thought they were great blue herons. But there was a group of them, and generally herons fly alone. And, the birds were brown.

“Look!” I said, but as Clif was driving, he really couldn’t look.

Then birds landed in the field, and “Stop, stop, stop!” I cried.

As Louis Pasteur observed, chance only favors the prepared mind, and in the back seat, tucked in my bike helmet, was my wee wonder of a camera. Clif duly pulled over and stopped. Out I jumped and snap, snap, snap. I had never seen such birds before, but right then I really didn’t care what they were. I just wanted to get some pictures of them, and I was successful. Because of the distance, the birds aren’t as crisp as I would like, but they are recognizable.

All right, readers. Verify my excitement. Are these sandhill cranes? If so, then joy, joy, happy, happy. I have never seen them before, and I didn’t even know they were in Maine. If these are not sandhill cranes, then what are they?

Whatever the case, those birds certainly made me smile. Wowsah, as we Mainers would say.

The next two things that made me smile are far more modest. After all, what could compete with seeing those birds?

But simple pleasures are still pleasures, and here they are.

An absolutely scrummy pizza we made with Portland Pie pizza dough, available at our local supermarket; tomatoes from my garden; basil and garlic from Farmer Kev’s; Cabot’s cheddar cheese; mozzarella; chicken sausage; and olive oil. Clif put it all together, and oh my, was it good.

Finally, the burst of color that the coleuses provide in my shady yard. No, they are not native, but I love them anyway.

Phew! What a week! I’m still agog at seeing those birds.

47 thoughts on “Three Things Thursday: Sandhill Cranes (?), A Mostly New England Pizza, Coleus”

  1. Wow, those birds look so beautiful, what a treat to see them! I love the splash of colour from your coleuses and Clif’s pizza looks delicious! :o) xxx

  2. Oh yes, most definitely these are Sandhill Cranes…here in New Mexico, we are in a Sandhill flyway between Canada and Mexico, we see many, many cranes…they are very majestic and have a distinctive call…I didn’t know the cranes were in Maine…interesting…what a fun post.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation, Jeanne. I never, never thought I would get to see one. Let’s just say they are not common in Maine.

  3. Wow, WAY out of range. I suggest you report this sighting to It would be of great scientific interest and you have photos to prove the sighting. Kudos!

    1. I was waiting for you to respond as I knew you’d know what they are. Thanks for the tip. I will definitely report the sighting to Oh, what an exciting day! It’s a wonder we didn’t drive off the road. 😉

      1. It was, and since I posted this piece, I learned that there are pairs nesting in Maine. Oh, brave new world!

      2. I just did an online search and learned that cranes have been seen in central Maine since 2000 and are increasing. That is really exciting. Central Maine, Auburn to Falmouth seems to be THE place to see them. Lucky you!

  4. Yes, those are Sand Hill Cranes. Denny and I kayaked down Torsey Pond a few weeks ago to se them. They nest on the boggy islands in the middle of the lake. My birding friends tell me they have been nesting in our area for about 5-6 years. Aren’t they wonderful?

    1. They are indeed wonderful! And I never, ever thought we’d get sandhill cranes in Maine. What next?

  5. I would have been excited also if I had seen those birds.
    Yes, I would like one piece of that yummy looking pizza, it’s been a while since I made one, must make one now you have got my juices going.
    Have a nice weekend.

    1. What a day! After posting the picture of the cranes on my blog and Facebook, I did indeed discover that there are pairs nesting in Maine. First cardinals, then red-bellied woodpeckers, and now sandhill cranes. What will be next, I wonder?

  6. How exciting! I would love to see such majestic birds close up! The pizza looks really delicious and coleus too – what attractive, bright and cheerful foliage.

    1. No, I think those cranes have just made advances into Maine. Just like the cardinals have and the red-bellied woodpeckers. A silver lining to the cloud of climate change?

    1. So exciting! And, yes, cheddar. Clif likes to put a mixture of cheeses on his pizza, and to quote my Yankee husband, it tastes pretty darned good.

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