Departure for field trip 5:30 a.m. Walking up to 1/2 mile, standing in unheated blind for up to 2 hours; pre-dawn, freezing temperatures.
In the hotel at 5:00 a.m., the breakfast buffet offers hot and cold choices; included beverages milk, coffee, tea, water.
We travel by bus to the Ian Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary where we have a reserved viewing blind. In the very early morning hours, we will experience our first “crane rise” as the “gray sandbar islands” of the Platte River turn into clouds of Sandhill cranes leaving their roost sites. As many as 400,000 sandhill cranes migrate annually at this time of year through the 60 mile stretch of the Platte River in Nebraska we will visit. We’ll return mid-morning to Kearney and go straight to a local restaurant for brunch. After brunch we return to the hotel for a break and to shed some layers of clothing.
At a local restaurant, we will order brunch from the menu; non-alcoholic beverage included.
Returning to the hotel, we’ll re-board our bus and return to the Rowe Sanctuary where an Audubon staff educator will give us a lecture on the Sandhill Crane’s behaviors. We’ll then set out on another field trip to “loafing areas” — so called due to the Cranes settling in and feeding, relaxing in surrounding farmer’s corn and grain fields. As we angle our way back through farm fields and roads, we have a chance to watch crane behavior in detail. Watch for pair bonding activities, dancing, strutting, feeding, resting, and other flock dynamics.
At a local restaurant, we’ll order from the menu; non-alcoholic beverage included, other beverages available for purchase.
At leisure. After a very early start and a long day, relax and prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.