Here are a few shots from the weekend at the Nature Center. We hosted a group of photographers form the Photograph Nebraska Symposium held in Hastings Nebraska. We took groups out early on Friday and Saturday. It was 7 degrees on Friday and a bit warmer on Saturday. The hoarfrost was just wonderful each day. We had a few participants that did not have proper cold weather foot wear and gloves. When it's cold and you're not properly dressed, you will not fully enjoy your experience. Layers are the best way to prepare for cold weather.
I went out with Hastings based photographer Jorn Olsen on Sunday morning to photograph the swarms of snow geese on some private land in the area. Wow... I have come to realize that my favorite viewing blind trip is always whatever trip I've been on most recently. They just seem to keep getting better.
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The sandhill crane viewing was interesting. We have good numbers of birds in the area. (est 20,000 birds) The largest portion of that flock roosted in the surrounding corn fields as opposed to the sandbars in the Platte. The river dynamic has changed this year from recent years in that we have a lot of water flowing. The cold weather creates ice chunks that freely bounce down the river not unlike a pin-ball does in a pinball machine. They would bounce against the legs of the roosting birds. I think that may be one reason they are roosting in the fields. The fields also have snow cover as of this writing. This provides the birds with line of sight to watch for predators, offering some sense of security.
The Nature Center will begin offering public sandhill crane viewing tours Friday, March 4. If you want to come out before that, just stop by the center or give us a call to get the latest information about the birds.