The sound is always the first notice that the Sandhills are back. I watched several hundred fly over in the November evening and finally realized that I had time to go find the camera and come back out.
They will be coming in day and night and it's a wonder to hear them on a crystal clear cold night and look up wondering where they are. They sound so close but they're usually way up there.
If you've never made it to the Hiwassee refuge get ready to go next chance you get. It's an amazing sight.