Crane migration nears peak along Platte

Row Sanctuary reported Thursday that the sandhill crane migration along the Platte River between Grand Island and Kearney is at or near its peak this weekend. Estimates are that 680,000 cranes – plus or minus 70,000 are roosting on the river.

While the waterfowl may be enjoying the weather, the extremely wet conditions have restricted access to visitors – sometimes referred to as “craniacs” who are looking to view the spectacle.

Last Saturday night and Sunday, viewing experiences were cancelled due to vehicles getting stuck in the mud along Elm Island road which is the only access to the refuge. Reports are that the road east of the refuge is now open, but possibly problematic for some two-wheel drive vehicles. The refuge is offering refunds to those who are not able to get to the refuge due to road conditions.

Prairie chickens dance at Switzer Ranch

In making my reservation  for the Audubon Crane Fest this year I signed up for the Calamus Outfitters Prairie Chicken Tour on the Switzer Ranch at  Calamus, NE.  On a gray morning my tour companions and I boarded an old school bus to travel to the prairie chicken lek, or “booming grounds.”  We sat quietly in the converted school bus blinds listening to the sounds of the prairie coming to life on this grey morning.

As the scene slightly brightened,  a couple dozen male greater prairie chickens not very gracefully flew into the lek or mating area.  The booming and calling commenced as rival birds strutted and challenged to establish dominance.   As two and then three hens arrived the activity increased as the males danced, boomed and strutted in a frenzy to gain the attention of the females.

All in all I highly recommend a stay at Calamus Outfitters and tours to the prairie chicken and  Sharp-tailed Grouse leks.

 

 

 

Sandhill crane migration

Harsh weather throughout Nebraska has made conditions along the Platte river between Grand Island and Kearney less than ideal for both cranes and humans who flock to see them.

Blair Fine Arts Soup and Salad Supper

The annual Soup and Salad Supper is a show case for talented sixth to twelfth grade instrumental groups and talented musicians. There were also some fun surprises during the Otte Middle School eighth grade performance of a Star Wars medley.

Fish Fry Friday

First Friday of Lent means that crowds flock to the  annual St. John the Baptist Fish Fry in Fort Calhoun.  The fish fry is a premier community event that draws big crowds from across the Omaha Metro area and far beyond.

 

Party in the snow

Some 5th grade students had the opportunity to enjoy the snow and show their creativity on Friday before spring break,   Students who were able to keep at least one ICMM ticket were invited to this snow party.  ICMM stands for I Can Manage Myself.   The students loved their party and created snow dogs, penguins, tunnels, snowmen, forts, castles, planes and even a stegosaurus.  Who says kids these days do not know how to go outside and enjoy nature?

Record breaking weather

A late February snowstorm closed roads and schools in Washington County and across Nebraska last weekend.