Friday, May 10, 2013

2013 Spring Trip - Day 10 - One Last Morning with the Sandhill Cranes

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Well it's the last day of the trip.  A week ago Friday I woke up at home and went to bed in Kearney, Nebraska, today I do the opposite.  I had a feeling this was going to be a beautiful morning and it was.

As I had planned last night I arrived at the Minden bridge well before sunrise.  To my surprise I was all alone.  With this many cranes around I figured there would be a number of people here already, at least in previous years there were.  But I was early and no doubt more would show up.  As light crept across the river I could start seeing the cranes.  The cranes stretched far off to the east.  Just like last weekend there were alot of cranes, alot of cranes.

I soon realized the north side of the bridge, where I was at, was not the side I should be on.  The closest cranes to the bridge were on the south side and there wasn't anything very interesting in line with where the sun was going to rise so I packed up and drove to the other side.  Not long after setting up again I finally I had company.  It was just one man and We struck up a conversation.  He had gotten up very early and drove out from Lincoln, I believe, to see the cranes.  He'd heard about the cranes and decided to come see them for himself.  I told him he picked a good time since there were so many cranes on the river.  I mentioned the excitement when they all take off at once and being surrounded by these noisy creatures.  I was hoping so much that we'd see a blast-off not only for myself but for this fellow as well.  

Sure enough down stream a few took off, then more and more and before you knew it 95% of the cranes were in the air circling and squawking above us.  I said this is it, something everyone with the love of this sort of thing should witness at least once.  He looked like he was enjoying it and I was so happy for him I was beaming from ear to ear.  I've spent time as Bosque del Apache in southern New Mexico, a wintering ground for Sandhill cranes and Snow geese.  The big thing in the morning there is watch the Snow geese blast off from the ponds and head out to the corn fields.  It's a spectacle that is unforgettable but lasts for a minute or so and it's over.  These cranes blast-off as well but many come back and land and do it again.  That is what I witnessed my night in the blind last weekend.

Most of the cranes were gone when the sun finally rose.  It was a beautiful sunrise, as so often sunrises are.  Only one other fellow show up this morning which was really weird but that's fine with me, I like being in nature with few people around.  The sun was getting higher so it was time to head 12 miles east to the bridge I was at last night and get some front lite shots.

I arrived and again was alone.  Where is everyone?  This is the most fantastic time for seeing the cranes and no one's around, oh well.  I was happy to see there were still alot of cranes on the river, many more than there were where I came from.  The sun was behind me and there was alot of dancing activity going on.  It was going to be a good morning for dancing.  I shot a number of videos and included my three favorite here.

After an hour or so I decided it was time to hit the road.  I didn't want to get home to late and I had about 600 miles to travel.  But not before checking out some real estate right by this bridge.  What a perfect place to enjoy the cranes from.  I peered thru the window and saw nothing but a shell of a house.  A fixer upper for sure.  Not only can you spruce up the exterior you can also totally design the interior floor layout without having to knock down any walls.

I've enjoyed sharing my trip with you, hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for following along.


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