Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autumn Cranes

For the last few weeks, we've had a number of folks looking for sandhill cranes. After all, if they come through in the spring, shouldn't they do the same in the fall? Brad or I will explain how the sandhill cranes migrate through in the fall but don't stop, how circumstances for the birds are different compared to March, they're heard more often than seen in fall, they travel in small groups now, and so forth.

Sometimes that news doesn't go over well. I can understand.

But on my way to work this morning, along the Platte River Road perhaps two miles west of Doniphan, I took the picture above -- part of a group consisting of at least 200 birds. Would you have been able to tell it was not taken in March? (A second equal-sized or even larger group was feeding closer to the Alda Road.)

It was a nice little taste of early Spring a few months ahead of schedule. And I could actually point potential visitors to a few cranes on a pretty late October day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October crane sighting at the Center?

Yes, we had a crane sighting right here! As the sandhill cranes are making their way to their wintering grounds south in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, and we now have a six foot tall crane that has been donated to the Center and will become a permanent resident. We are delighted to have "The Heart of the Platte" donated to the Center by Roc A Dent, Inc.. Artist Heidi Muirhead and her husband Rob wanted a place that people could enjoy the crane for years to come.

We will feature the crane in our Horniday Art Gallery located at the front portion of the NNVC building. The crane can be moved around to compliment different events that we host at the Center.

Artist Heidi Muirhead and "The Heart of the Platte"

The crane was created as part of the Cranes on Parade event held in Kearney Nebraska. It is a fundraiser held by the Dawn ROTARY club also of Kearney, Nebraska. Hit the jump

"Whooper Watch" on NTV's Good life program.

Join us at the Center Wednesday, October 20 at 6 p.m. for Whooper Watch training conducted by Dr. Karine Gil. Give her a call at 1-888-3WWATCH (1-888-399-2824) to report a whooping crane sighting or register for the training.

Remember, if you spot a whooping crane, just stay in your car and write down the specifics of where the whooping crane is and what time it is. Seriously, you CAN NOT SNEAK up on cranes, so don't even try. It will just fly away and could be considered harassment.

Whooping cranes may be observed from public roadways or established viewing areas and a distance of at least 2000 feet. That's six football fields. Flushing a bird will cause it to expend energy that is needed for migration and can stress a bird. Be sure to use a spotting scope or binoculars to observe.

You can also contact Martha Tacha, USFWS in Grand Island, Nebraska (telephone 308-382-6468, Ext. 19; or Tom Stehn, USFWS in Austwell, Texas (361-286-3559, Ext. 221; to report a sighting.

hit the jump to read on and watch the clip.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Camera Club hits Dannebrog

The Nature Center's Camera Club went on a "leaf peeping" field trip Thursday evening to Dannebrog, Nebraska. Dannebrog is a little town of around 300 people located about 40 miles north of the Nature Center and north west of Grand Island. The trees were not all that colorful with the exception of a nice little Bradford pear on the west side of town. We found our way to main street where our cameras drew some attention before heading to the Danish Bakery and the Pawnee Art Center located just a few doors apart on main street.

hit the jump to read on