18 March 2010


Sandhill cranes rising at foggy daybreak, Rowe Sanctuary, Kearney, Nebraska

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Quilt Thursday to bring you an update on the sandhill crane migration.

They're back on the Platte River in Nebraska and will be there for the new few weeks.

That is all. That is enough.

Sandhill cranes are my totem. I grew up in a West Texas city near one of their main refugia (Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge) and their call will forever mean the changing of the seasons for me. No other sound catches my heart as their calls do. So I was delighted beyond belief that we moved just one state north of one of their oldest and biggest migration stopovers: the Platte River in Nebraska.

Platte River. I heard but did not see a badger near here.

We led a trip from here down to Nebraska two years ago to watch the cranes along the Platte. Last year we had bad luck with blizzards--not just minor snowstorms; outright blue northers--every weekend that we scheduled for the trip. This year, we are scheduled to lead the trip next weekend. I had an unexpected opportunity--that's how I am choosing to look at it--to drive down to Lincoln for a course I was teaching, and so I decided to check out the crane action on the drive back.

All of these were taken in the early morning on an overcast and foggy day, which added to the beauty. What I can't convey here is the sound of thousands of cranes rising up off the river banks and calling as they started the day. I only left because they did.

Cranes feeding in field

They're back, dancing and getting ready for the next flight to the far North. Part of my heart goes with them, but they always bring it back.


Bodhibadger said...

You never see the badger until it is too late. Bwahahahahahah.

Chris said...

Now, is it time for me to gloat again that on my one and only trip to South Dakota (so far) I managed to see a badger?

However, I would happily give this up for a chance to see cranes again.