Roy and Millie have returned to the same nest territory for over a decade and I have observed their arrival since 2004. In a typical year, they drop onto the ice-covered pond in the last week of April when most of the snow is already gone from the marsh.
Spring 2013 was one of the coldest and snowiest on record. Millie and Roy did not appear until May 8th, to find almost two feet of slushy snow covering the cranberry bog and the frozen pond. They were wary at first as they paced slowly across the soft snow and engaged in short bouts of dancing. As usual in their first few days back, they flew across the valley to roost for the night.
Dancing and feeding followed on May 9th.
Roy and Millie paced across the snow and pulled on cattails. Millie drank from holes in the ice created by methane originating from bacteria in the pond.
Toward the end of the day, Roy and Millie unison called, perhaps trying to discover other crane pairs in the valley.