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Author Topic: My Nebraska  (Read 42009 times)
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gmadeb3
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« Post / Reply #615 on: March 19, 2017, 01:22:22 PM »

I decided to take the plunge and do  a morning tour,  that means up before 5 am and drive about 30 miles to the Crane Trust, do the orientation  for 24 guests and then drive out to the blind along the river before the sun comes up.  We have to be very quiet because the cranes can be very close in the morning.  Then we wait till the sun appears and we get our first view of all of them in the river.  It is pretty different than an evening tour because you wait and hope they land before the sun sets and you have enough light to see them.  The morning you are waiting for the sun to give you a wonderful awakening  on the river.   


Not the best but this is the first morning light


What the light reveals is the amazing numbers of cranes that have spent the night in the river


You never know what causes some to lift off and others to wait

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gmadeb3
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« Post / Reply #616 on: March 19, 2017, 02:02:25 PM »

The morning silhouette on the Platte River


They seem to walk and then run before taking off at the end of the sandbar


they enjoy playing in the river, splashing, jumping


From the river out to the cornfields, they carry on their eating and bonding activities


They like to toss things in the air,  here it looks like a piece of a corn cob in its beak


These birds stand from 4 ft to 4 ft 6 inches tall.  They have strong legs and can jump/leap very high.
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gmadeb3
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« Post / Reply #617 on: March 19, 2017, 02:12:30 PM »

They sure do have some characters,  this one is showing off his split leg jump while staring at me


This is the common landscape in Nebraska in which the cranes spend their day.  The pipe is part of a center pivot used for irrigation,  the metal building in the background is a storage bin for the crop.  They can be found in cornfields like this and in grassy meadows
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gmadeb3
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« Post / Reply #618 on: March 19, 2017, 03:28:35 PM »

Last year at this time there was a big turmoil over a sand and gravel pit going in across the road from the Crane Trust and Nature Center.  The company won the right to start pumping out the sand.  As you recall the company built up a very large berm around the area, they then brought in the equipment and working on making the sandpit.  The company has been very responsible during the migration season.  They have closed down the operation at this time.  There really will be some great benefits from this sandpit when they are done.  It will provide a place for ducks and others to use.  A big concern is the habitat that the plovers and terns use,  maybe this will be a place they can protect for them to use for nesting. Yesterday I noticed many cranes on the outside of the berm resting in the field.  I am thinking that they are getting ready to head north with the south wind we are getting.  Click on this first photo to get the total pano view.




This is cropped in so not the best but,  here are the cranes and there are many laying down resting. You can see the interstate runs just on the other side of the raised berm area.

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« Post / Reply #619 on: March 20, 2017, 03:28:25 AM »

Haleluiia for the company being responsible. I hope they get lots of publicity for that and maybe inspire others as well. Thanks for sharing that information with the pics Deb!    wink  nod
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« Post / Reply #620 on: March 22, 2017, 09:35:39 PM »

Spring Migration - The Sandhill Cranes stop over here but others arrive and stay for the summer.  I saw my first shorebird, a lesser yellowlegs the other night at the river.  Hope we get some rain to help with the dryness of the wetlands.

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NancyM
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« Post / Reply #621 on: March 23, 2017, 05:58:14 AM »

Wonderful photos (as usual) and narrative, Deb! Hard to decide if sunrise or sunset is more impressive crane-wise, but both are unforgettable.
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« Post / Reply #622 on: March 23, 2017, 01:11:38 PM »

Beautiful Photos. Good news about the sand pit. I love the Yellowlegs guy!
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« Post / Reply #623 on: March 26, 2017, 07:33:57 PM »

Another cloudy day but just can't squeeze much rain out of those clouds.  Still a fun day to check on those Sandhill Cranes that are still here in Nebraska.  The wind has been staying out of the north so that means they won't leave yet.  I went for a ride in the countryside and found an amazing number today.  They were on both sides of the road and I found some that decided to just go for a walk between the fields.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNVWySDJIO8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNVWySDJIO8</a>
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« Post / Reply #624 on: March 26, 2017, 07:46:19 PM »

Lots of activity between the cranes,  dancing as in their courtship displays


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRLSUDK-ibc" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRLSUDK-ibc</a>
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« Post / Reply #625 on: March 26, 2017, 09:19:58 PM »

Not a lot of car traffic out but lots of crane traffic









the rhythm of the wing beats

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« Post / Reply #626 on: March 27, 2017, 08:11:31 AM »


Fabulous sightings, Deb, thank you so much!
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wooohoooo!
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« Post / Reply #627 on: March 27, 2017, 03:04:46 PM »

Love the cranes crossing the road! They were in no hurry, either.  That, and the dancing, playing "toss the corncob" - what enchanting creatures  love
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« Post / Reply #628 on: March 30, 2017, 05:00:29 PM »

As night falls the Sandhill Cranes leave the fields that they have been in during the day.  Amazing instinct that they have to fly to the river from where ever they have been.  Then the river becomes their highway,  they continue along the river until they find their special roosting spot on or near the sandbars of the river.


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« Post / Reply #629 on: April 01, 2017, 09:11:24 AM »

Another late afternoon looking at the Sandhill Cranes.  This evening I was lucky to get some photos of a crane family.  The photos show the adults with the red patch on their head.  The youngster, called a colt has not matured to have the red skin on its forehead.   The colt travels with its parent back to their breeding grounds for the summer.  It will be at least 2-3 years for the colt to be mature and mate.  Sandhill Cranes can live 15-25 years in the wild, mate for life and lay 2 eggs.






The red patch on their head is not feathers,  it is skin.  When they get excited they can pull the feathers back a little and show more of the red.
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