This was a true case of making an effort to find the adventure in the field trip. We were driving through Nebraska on our way home from Colorado during the tail end of the Sandhill Crane migration.
Did we actually see any Sandhill Cranes on out Sandhill Crane walk? No. There were hundreds of cranes in the cornfields on either side of the road as we drove into the state park. We could hear their distinct trilling really well when we stepped out of the car, binoculars at the ready.
As we walked the short trail to the train bridge, we knew there was a pretty good chance there wouldn’t be any cranes near the Platte River. We arrived in the middle of the day when they are typically out looking for food. Sunrise and sunset are the best time to see the birds roosting for the night near the river, but we tried anyway.
For some of us just walking across the old train bridge (and reading the graffiti) was enough.
I could have done without the profanity. Nine-year-old P thought it was great.
The Platte River is impressive.
I don’t know that I have ever seen a river as wide and shallow or as the Platte before.
The current was pretty swift, leaving beautiful designs in the sandy bottom.
We did see one or two other kinds of birds, but not many. The fun was in walking along together, looking for things to discover.
You can’t see much, but there are hundreds of cranes resting near the horizon in this photograph. My parents and I stood in a nearby treeline to watch in silence. Occasionally a group of the cranes flew over and landed in a nearby field.
Our cranespotting stop turned out to be pretty fun and we scoped the campground out for next year’s trip to Colorado. If we can get organized, we might just camp at Fort Kearny and get up before sunrise to see the Sandhill Cranes at their best.
Wherever you find yourself, spring is a terrific time to get out and look for birds. I’m an amateur birder. I don’t own binoculars or a bird identification guide. I look for places that have informational signs or pamphlets telling me what birds I’m looking for/at like the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve, Sunset Point at Voyageur Park or even neighborhood parks. Happy birding!