Friday, April 4, 2014

Wings on the Wind


The great spring congregation of some half million migrating sandhill cranes along Nebraska's Platte River Valley has now peaked and on the ebb. The cranes are now mostly on the wing in their big push to Canada, Alaska and Siberia. They are a sleek and beautiful creature in flight, as seen here silhouetted against a bright, but cloudy sky. It's little surprise to see why cranes are so revered by cultures the world over.

Will they continue to thrive and migrate as they do now or will global warming change their patterns and habitats or even their existence? We shall see, of course, but since they are among the oldest living birds on the planet and have existed over 34 million years, they have more than proven their ability to adapt.
Here, we're already looking forward to the awe and magic that their great numbers will bring again on next year's visit.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sunrise on the Platte






Sandhill cranes departing their overnight roost on sandbars in the Platte River, near Grand Island, Nebraska. They will spend their entire day feeding on stubble in nearby farmland fields before returning to the river at sunset.

Contributor to:   Sky Watch Friday     The Bird D'Pot     Weekly Top Shot    

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just Rejuvenating

These beautiful birds are a part of the 500,000 sandhill cranes making a brief visit along Nebraska's Platte River for rest and nourishment. It's estimated that they will add 20 percent of their body weight during a four to five week period of feeding in surrounding farmlands before their big push north. During our visit to the Platte yesterday, there were thousands of these large birds everywhere in the fields and sky. 80 percent of all the migrating cranes on the planet make their stop here for R and R. Although some twenty million other migrating birds also visit this short stretch along the Platte, there were few to be seen yesterday. Many of the two million snow geese, for instance, have come and gone. It's believed the sandhill cranes have congregated here on the Platte for some 10 thousand years during one of the earth's greatest migrations.

Contributor to:   ABC Wednesday    Wild Bird Wednesday  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Great Grus Canadensis Gathering

Here they come! They do it at this time every year. About a half million sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) congregate along an eighty mile stretch of Nebraska's Platte River for several weeks in order to rest, feed and fatten up before continuing their migration north to nesting grounds in Canada, Alaska and even Siberia. It is truly one of the great spectacles of nature and a birder's delight. They arrive in waves from various southern wintering grounds beginning in mid February and continue until early April. In the weeks ahead I hope to make several posts with current photos and information about the extraordinary sandhill crane gathering and possibly a few pics of some of the other estimated 300 species that will also be passing through on their northbound journey.

Contributor to    ABC Wednesday    Wild Bird Wednesday    Sky Watch Friday   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Trumpeters

 A small flock of some 20 plus trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) have chosen a lake (with some open water) in the Omaha metro as their place to winter over before heading north again, most likely in late February. The trumpeter swan is considered to be the world's largest extant species of waterfowl.. They mate for life and congregate in small groups or families rather than travel in large flocks. Their loud, resonant, bugling voice is unmistakable. The trumpeters are native to North America and have a black bill with a long straight neck and do not share the bright orange bill and classic S shaped neck of the introduced Eurasian mute swan more commonly seen in urban ponds and lakes.

Contributor to:     Wild Bird Wednesday

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sketchings

Sunny and seven below this morning while peeking through the frosty kitchen window.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Yearning for Spring

A summer sky reflection tweaked and inverted. A new year and a good time to look anew.
All the best to you and yours in 2014!

Contributor to:    CDP Theme Day      ABC Wednesday      Sky Watch Friday     Weekend Reflection

Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter's Sky

A December sunset in Memorial Park

Contributor to Sky Watch Friday

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY XMAS...

...and happy holidays to all!
May peace, love and joy fill your days.

Contributor to:   ABC Wednesday

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vibrant Vermilion

The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) stands out vividly in winter white.

  Contributor to:    ABC Wednesday    Wild Bird Wednesday     Weekly Top Shot

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Night Flight

Canada geese migrating south along the Missouri River corridor at dawn.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sky Watching or...

...perhaps, looking for its vanished master or...who knows?
Found this interesting, untitled piece of public art by sculptor, Mel Chin,
along the waterfront promenade in Corpus Christi, Texas. 
It seemed to make a good foreground for a sunrise picture while looking out
across the bay on that clear fall morning.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Terminal Reflection

A quick shot from the hip while hurrying to make a connection.
Travels