Friday, March 31, 2017

Sandhill Cranes against western sky.


Sandhill Crane.  We ventured down to the Grand Island, Neb. area earlier this week to see one of the great events that nature has to offer.   More than 200,000 Sandhill Cranes were packed into an area less than 40 mile long, and at night less than 1 mile wide.  The cranes spend their days feeding in the fields and their nights on the Platte River.  The sights and sounds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes returning to the Platte, and leaving the river in the Morning, are well worth the trip.    We have posted some of our pictures on this blog-hope you enjoy them.  I have not been able to post video on this blog, but have posted a short video of the Sandhill Crane sounds on my facebook site.

Sandhill Cranes feeding in cornfield about 20 miles west of Grand Island, Neb.

During the day the cranes gather in large groups to feed off waste corn and soybeans in the fields along the Platte River.

A kettle of Sandhill Cranes rising above the corn and soybean fields of Nebraska.

The cranes have a wings span of almost 7 feet and stand 3.5 to 4 feet tall.

The Sandhill Cranes are quite graceful when they set their wings to land.  To see more of our photos go the right and click on March, 2017.

Coming in for a landing.  To see more of our photos go to the right and click on March 2017.

Platte River between Kearney, Neb. and Grand Island, Neb.  The Platte is a shallow, wide river with many sandbars.  The Sandhill Cranes spend the nights either on the sandbars or in the shallows for protection from preditors. There were about 200,000 cranes there this last week.

As the sun begins to set the flocks of Sandhills start heading towards the Platte River.

Sandhill Cranes at sundown.

Sandhill Cranes framed by the orange contrails of passing jets.

Sandhill Cranes against the setting sun, Monday March 27, 2017.  A sight and sound that we will never forget.  

As the sunlight fades from the evening sky tens of thousands of the Sandhills continue to stream towards the Platte's sandbars for the night. The sound of the cranes is just as impressive as the sight.  I have posted a short video of the Crane sounds as they come in on my facebook site.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Trumpeter Swan, Whitewater River backwaters.  The rusty color on the neck indicates that this one is not yet a full adult.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Even in dull sunlight this Grackle show off its breeding colors.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fox Sparrow.  The first of these just arrived from down south today.  They need brushy habitat for cover.  They typically stay with us for about 2-4 weeks before heading farther north.  They are colorful and have a great song.

The Chickadee's were very busy feeding today.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Our resident Pine Squirrel is one of the first to arrive at our feeders after a fresh snow.  Got about 1 inch last night.