Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photograph Nebraska Symposium in Hastings


Hastings, NE - Amateur photographers are invited to learn more about their craft, network with other photographers and listen to advice from seasoned professionals at the Photograph Nebraska Symposium to be held on February 25 & 26 at Lochland Country Club in Hastings.

Keynote presenters will include author and photographer, Thom Hogan and Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer, Bill Frakes. Thom Hogan has written nineteen Complete Guides to Nikon Cameras and photographed the US wild lands as former lead editor of Backpacker magazine. Bill Frakes has clients including Nike, CocaCola, Champion, IBM, Nikon, Kodak and Reebok and his work has appeared in virtually every major general interest publication in the world.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Wild About Nebraska Speaker Series 2011

Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center
9325 S Alda Road, Wood River, NE 68883

March 5:

Cynthia Duff and Tricia Moon-Beem artist reception and book signing. 1-3 p.m. Cynthia is an artist, painter and sculptor and will give a short presentation and host an artists reception. Cynthia enjoys a wide variety of subjects including wildlife, sandhill cranes, people, landscapes and abstracts. She has been published in Nebraska Life Magazine, Artist Magazine, Watercolor Magic and “Outdoor Life” Television. Her works reside in many corporate and private collections. She has partnered with Tricia Moon-Beem to produce a book that celebrates the cranes!

March 12:

Dr. Paul Johnsgard speaking and signing his new book “Crane Music, A Natural History of American Cranes”. 1p.m.
Paul Johnsgard has shown us the wonders of the natural world and our fellow inhabitants through his writing, photography and illustrations. He has literally written the book on Nebraska’s sandhill cranes and will be speaking and answering questions about cranes and Nebraska’s migration. He will also be signing his newly updated book.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Images from the Platte

We have had a fair number of people out on the trail with camera in hand the last day or two. Brett Erickson from Hastings College brought his J-Term photography class out and they were out for several hours in single digit temps. They are making a blog with images of the west and I'll post it whenever I get the link.

Another Photographer from Kearney (Dean) was glad to see what he thought to be several hundred meadowlarks in our trail area just south of the bridge. I wonder if they wish they were farther south!

The photos posted below were shot Thursday evening near the Alda viewing area just one mile south of the main building here at the Center. I know we get a lot of sunsets in Nebraska. I never really get tired of photographing them. When my son Ben was a young boy and we say a particularly brilliant sunset in the western sky he said: "It's like God's painting". I'll go along with that.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Eagles on the Platte

Here's an eagle report from this last weekend as written by Blake Hatfield...

We got to J2 (Lexington Power station) about 9am and the most we could count at one time there was 26. That is one of the better counts at j2 for a long time for me. We left j2 around 10am and started following the Platte river on the on the south side (of the Platte) till we got to Kearney. This is were we stopped counting. Here is a list of what we kept track of. Bald Eagles= 53 Rough-legged Hawks = 17 American Kestrels = 5 Red-tail Hawks = 3 Northern Harriers = 3 Great Horned Owls = 2 Great Blue Herons = 2 and about 300 Turkeys. We didn't keep track of the other birds, but several different species were seen. It was a pretty fun day.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sub- Zero Hiking and Photography on the Trail

There are two kinds of people in this world. When the mercury dives below zero there are the types wear footie pajamas, drink large amounts of hot chocolate bundle up on the couch under grandma’s afghan, and there’s the type who says, great day for a walk!

You know who you are! I have to admit, the older I get, the less spontaneous I am about launching out into the cold, but I still enjoy doing it when I get the chance.

They key to enjoying yourself in extreme cold is preparation. Things are amplified when the temps drop below zero. Equipment seems to be tested to the limit and this includes things such as your camera, cell phone, clothing, foot ware, and automobile.

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White Pelican Watch & Homecoming Celebration to be held at Harlan Co. Reservoir

Last spring I was at the Sacramento State Wildlife management area with my camera in hand. (Sacramento is in south central Nebraska a short drive north of the Harlan Co. Reservoir) Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a formation of large white birds gliding in from the south. This was in April so it was possible that they could be whooping cranes so it really grabbed my attention! I put my binoculars up to see a flock of georgeous white pelicans i decent to one of the flooded areas at WMA. They reminded me of a jumbo jet making its way in for a landing! They are a sight to see and the folks from Harlan County are inviting you down for a front row seat!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to sign up for your sandhill crane viewing tour


Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center
9325 South Alda Road
Wood River, NE 68883


Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center Opens Online Registration for Guided Sandhill Crane Tours

January 11, 2011

The Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center (NNVC) is pleased to offer online registration for 2011 sandhill crane viewing tours to the public. Each tour includes a 15-minute presentation before trained guides lead participants to observation sites along the Platte River to watch the cranes depart the river in the morning or return to river roosts in the evening. Guided tours begin the afternoon of Friday, March 4 and end Wednesday, April 6.

Two different types of viewing experiences are available, including a guided footbridge evening tour for $10.00 per person and an enclosed viewing blind tours for $25.00/person. (Tax is charged for tours.) The tours typically require a 10-minute walk, sometimes over rough terrain, to reach viewing sites. Each tour lasts about two hours and children under the age of twelve are not allowed.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Snapshot of the Platte

The flooding from a few weeks ago has worked its way upstream a few bridge segments to the Buffalo/Kearney county area closer to Kearney. The river has pushed a lot more water into the north channel that runs south of the Nature Center building. The water flow and ice mixture most certainly will scour the riverbed. I also noticed that there were places in the ice there the water would boil up through the ice from the flows below.

If you happen to get out and take a look at the river for yourself, do not try to venture out on the ice! It is very unstable and a person could fall through without warning.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ice and Water - a walk to the Platte

I took a short walk down the Nature trail this afternoon to check on the river and see what was new down there. We still have a blanket of snow on the ground. That is good for showing tracks and signs of the prairie residents who live out there. I was able to watch a rather loud red-tailed hawk over the river, a northern harrier, turkeys, white tailed deer and a northern shrike. I also saw tracks and signs of all kinds of mice and smaller birds in the snow.

We have a lot of water flowing in the northern channel of the Platte right now. This is the result of ice jams to the west in the main (south) channel causing more then the usual amount of water to spill into the north channel. It's a relief valve of sorts. The water flow is as high as I've seen it. This is good for the riverbed where the ice acts like a bulldozer cleaning and scouring the sandy bottom as it moves along. I also noticed that the main channel has shifted from one side to the other. This is a natural process that helps to shape the platte as we know it. The geomorphology of the platte is based on sand constantly shifting due to various forces of ice and water. When the flows move elsewhere, the trees and prairie grasses begin to sprout up quickly filling the area with vegetation.

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