Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Viewing Blind Trip of the Season

We have officially started out guided viewing blind tours for the 2010 "Crane Season". As many of you know, the cranes were later then they had been in the last few years to make there way north from their wintering grounds. With the breeze out of the south over the last few days, we have seen large numbers of geese and cranes come into our area. It really is a refreshing sight and sound.

Our first tour had Dan, Jim, Mary, Michael, Erin, Laurine, and Tana tossed together from states such as South Dakota, Texas, Minnesota, and Nebraska towns including Hastings, Axtell and Lincoln. We were all gathered together for a few hours to learn about, but mostly just watch and listen to the spring migration.

One of our main viewing blinds is positioned on a man-made bluff overlooking the south channel of the river and I have to say it is a wonderful place to observe the birds as they make their way to and from the river where they roost. We are able to see several miles up and down stream to watch the birds as they glide right in front of the windows. There are times when was just overload as a cacophony of sound and motion unraveled in front of us.

It was brisk but not overly cold or windy which was nice. It can be very cold going out, you just never know. I keep my trunk full of coats, hats, boots and gloves for things like this never quite knowing what the weather will toss at us from day to day.

When the birds began to settle, they roosted on a larger ice sheet. It's always hard to tell how many birds are in any given roost but my best guess would be that we had a good 2000 birds on that particular roost. The ice made for a very surreal look as they walked around to claim their

When the tour was over, we made our way out of the blind under cover of darkness walking straight north directly away from the river down a slight incline. This allows us to get out of there without the birds knowing we are there. We stay in a tight bunch and walk slowly so as to not attract attention and possibly simulate a herd of deer walking around. I really have no idea if this makes a difference to a bird flying overhead, but it makes us feel like we’re at least trying to have a minimal impact of the wildlife.

During the walk back to the cars, we had birds flying directly overhead causing us to stop several times and just listen and look.

My adage stands the test of time. My favorite tour is always my most recent tour. I just love it. Stay tuned, we have along way to go!

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